When I first started going through training with Molly it was focused mostly on being the alpha, being the leader of her pack. The theory made sense to a point but what I struggled with was being blamed for my emotions…it was my emotions that were driving Molly to behave the way she does. And while I completely understand how emotions impact others I wasn’t convinced that’s all it was. Plus, my response to her misbehaviours was supposed to be aggressive. Hmmm…aggressive behaviour met with aggressive response…something seems wrong with that, at least for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen it work well for other dogs. Which is great. But maybe that’s because their human works that way. But when I look at my leadership style, at least with people, aggression doesn’t work–it just makes them negatively reactive, almost abused; so why should that work with dogs?
This isn’t going to be an easy process because I’ve now taught my reactive dog to be even more reactive. Which is not fair to her. I should have trusted my instincts more and sought out other behaviour-altering methods. My hope is that I’m not too late.
Later this week we are going for a walk with her behaviourist so she can see how Molly reacts and how I respond. There must be a balance.
On another note, there’s a chance that I may be moving to another province in the coming months and for M’s sake I hope I do. The area we’d be moving to is very dog friendly and open to alternative behaviour-modifying methods. Molly is trained, she is bright, and wise, and goofy…she can do tricks, she can walk beside me, she can heel. But her behaviour needs to shift. And the resources I have available to me here in the valley just won’t cut it.
For both our sakes I hope this move happens.