Watching Hair Grow
In our line of work as Professional Canine Behavior Consultants, we work with a lot of fearful and anxious canine companions. Often, the primary challenge with these dogs is that we are not working to change a behavior, we are working to change an emotion that results in a behavior change. If you were afraid of snakes and you found a snake in your garage, you likely could not just tell yourself “there is nothing to be afraid of”. Emotions are not always rational. If you are anything like me, you would scream, and run immediately to the highest point in the house as far away from that snake as possible. Changing that fear can be challenging work but it can definitely change with patience and targeted behavior modification.
One of the more common things we hear clients say early in our training with these fearful dogs is “I’ve been training a little every day but I just don’t see a difference.” While this kind of work can be slow going for most dogs, there is usually progress, even early on. What often happens is that the pet parents are so close to the issue that it is difficult to see the changes. It is much like when your hair grows out. You don’t notice the difference from day to day, but when you see someone you haven’t seen in a few months, they might comment on the length of your hair because they did not see it every day. Training, especially with fearful dogs can be somewhat slow, but the work pays off in the long run if you look at the progress incrementally. When we see those clients two weeks later, we might see relatively substantial progress because we did not see every little step along the way. Slow and steady wins the race so if you have to choose between being the Tortoise or the Hare, be the tortoise and win the race with slow, steady, and persistent training. You will get there and we are here to support you every step of the way!