You may or may not know, my husband & I have the absolute pleasure of having a handsome, very smart Australian Shepherd living with us – Jax.
Jax is almost 17 months old now and has such a gentle temperament. Yes, he definitely has his moments – as we all do and hey, he’s still only young.
This is about Jax as a young pup. I train positive reinforcement, so no aversive training – just reward based. When you have a young puppy going absolutely nuts (as they do, testing our boundaries) it becomes extremely testing.
Taking Jax for a walk on the beach, didn’t always go so smoothly. There were moments when Jax would absolutely test us to the max. He would start jumping up, nipping, grabbing at the leash, wrestling with the leash. Our stress levels would go from 0 to 100 in a heartbeat.
We would try re-directing his behaviour but he would just seem so ‘out of control’.
The frustration was building, every bone in our bodies just wanted to grab him and yell ‘stopppp’. Here I was, I’m supposed to know how to deal with this behaviour, I have people watching on (probably not, but it certainly felt like I was on stage) – my husband would look to me for direction.
What to do???
Something totally different … … take a deeeeeep breath, big breath in and breathe it out – watch out into the distance. Being on the beach, we could watch out to sea. Breathing innnnn and then breathing outttttt. Letting go of all angst and frustration.
What was Jax doing? Laying down at our feet.
Whose energy, Jax was picking up on – I’m not so sure but that was such a big lesson and a big ahaaa moment. I lovvve this.
We as humans – many of us would choose to just react & shut the dog down. This is never a good choice and doesn’t always have a great outcome. Stopping to ‘calm’ is the most amazing thing and one of the biggest gifts for yourself & for your dog.
‘Calm’ – amazing!!!