Only Human

 

On Thursday night I took our dog, and my Mother In Law’s dog Shasta to a rattlesnake aversion training with Erick from Natural Solutions.  Erick is the only trainer in the Inland Empire I would consider taking my dogs too for two reasons.  First reason is that Erick always starts the dogs off at a low level shock, many who do this training will start your dog at a high level which is unnecessary.  Second, Erick is an awesome trainer and can read dogs very well.  During the training my dog Yukon went into a state of learned helplessness and instead of just seeing that state as stubbornness and shocking him for going back to the snake, Erick recognized it, brought my dog back out of it and then continued the training.  Have I mentioned he is awesome?  During the training I also had a I’m only human moment which I remind my clients of on a regular basis because we all do it.  My mother in law’s dog Shasta is thunder phobic and I have been working with her over the past few weeks (see videos on our YouTube Channel).  While I was waiting for the training session to begin it was thundering for REAL.  So I was stroking Shasta.  Erick came up to me and said I know it sounds odd but did you know that stroking them actually makes them worse you should stop touching her.  Of course my response was I know that and my friend MJ who is also a trainer and was hosting the training said then stop petting her Dixie.  Yep, I was doing it all wrong.  I know that touching a dog that is anxious increases the anxiety. You wait for a calming moment and award calm with touch but I was having a human moment.  Later I talked to Erick and let him know I was a trainer and he said then you should know better and we laughed about it.  I understand, I know how hard it is not to do the things we are programmed to do.  If a dog is crying and upset we want to comfort them, if a dog won’t sit we want to put them in that position, if a dog runs from us we want to run after them, these are all instinctual, human actions but they are also all wrong.  Despite knowing that even as a trainer, I’m not perfect and those human instincts take over as they did with Shasta.  This is one of the reasons I recommend that everyone in the family be involved in training because that way your family members can catch you being human and correct the action.  Thank you Erick for catching me being human and issuing the correction.

 

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