What To Do When You’re Frustrated With Your Dog

by | Apr 10, 2019 | Articles | 0 comments

What To Do When You Get Frustrated While Training Your Dog

Do you ever feel annoyance, resentment or even anger towards your dog?

Do you ever feel annoyance, resentment or even anger towards your dog?

It happens to everyone. Even though your dog can’t help making mistakes, it’s normal to feel frustrated at times.

Getting frustrated does not make you a bad dog owner. It just means that it’s time to take a step back, take a breather, and try a new approach to your training problem.

Why Do You Feel Frustrated?

Just as we have to consider the underlying causes behind our dog’s behaviour issues, we should be just as patient with ourselves. Try to figure out why you’re feeling so frustrated.

Is it because you set the bar too high? Are you comparing them with dogs in videos, your neighbor’s dog, or simply expecting too much of them?

Or, are you actually feeling embarrassed by your dog? Do they make a dramatic scene in public? Do you ever feel like they make you look like a bad dog owner? Maybe your family members, neighbors, or complete strangers are complaining, giving you judgemental comments or overwhelming you with unsolicited advice.

These are all valid reasons for feeling extra stressed about training your dog. You may need to work around them. It may be necessary to lower your expectations, or explain to those around you that your dog is still in training.

How Frustration Affects Your Dog

Dogs pick up on our frustration. They can actually detect stress levels through the odour of your sweat, and they are also highly skilled at picking up facial expressions and body language.

Some of your dog’s frustrating behaviours can actually be signs that your dog knows that you are stressed. At times, your dog may appear to be ignoring you, when in reality, they’re giving off “calming signals”.

Dogs use “calming signals” to diffuse situations, to appear non-confrontational. For example, your dog may sniff the grass, yawn, walk away, or refuse to make eye contact. They may seem uninterested and disengaged, when in reality, they’re becoming afraid of you. Your dog is not ignoring you, they’re just trying to appear non-threatening so you’ll calm down.

How To Rewire Your Mindset

When you catch yourself becoming frustrated, especially if your dog is showing calming signals, it’s time to take a break to decompress.

In the meantime, try breaking down your goal into easier, more manageable steps. Try going back a few steps and reinforcing related behaviours that your dog already knows.

Both you and your dog will feel better with those small “wins”. Always end each training session on a good note, even if that means simply asking your dog to “sit” and rewarding them with one last treat. Training sessions should leave you and your dog wanting more, not totally drained and unmotivated.

How To Succeed In Dog Training

To increase your chances of reaching your dog training goals, always set your dog up for success.

Make sure they understand what is being asked of them. If you can’t seem to communicate clearly, try setting up the lesson in a new way. You can use obstacles, a target stick, stickers, markers and other props to guide your dog without the use of physical force or lots of trial and error.

A simple treat upgrade can make a huge difference in the speed of your progress. High-protein treats like meat, cheese, fish and peanut butter are the most motivating. Look for healthy, high value treats that won’t make your dog gain weight.

Work With A Positive Dog Trainer

Healthy Houndz positive dog training serves North York, Toronto and surrounding areas.
You can always vent to us when you’re frustrated with your dog. We get it. We are committed to finding humane, force-free ways to teach dogs, and along the way, we can show you exactly how to break down the communication barriers that cause frustration. Give us a call at 647-749-8731 or contact us today to get started.