I have been watching a reactive dog seminar on DVD (Control Unleashed – both the book and the DVDs are excellent, by the way) and the presenter (Leslie McDevitt) mentioned that when you’re at a class and feeling frustrated with your dog, get them to relax on their mat, do some bodywork (TTouch, light massage, etc) and think about some things about your dog that make you laugh. Then, think about a time that your dog made you proud. Think about the thing(s) that make your dog special to you. Think about the first time you met your dog.
Call me sappy and sentimental (guilty of both charges!), but just thinking of these things made me misty-eyed. I still remember the first time I saw each of my dogs – and in each case it was pictures prior to meeting the dogs. I can think of something each dog does that makes me laugh, and just going through my memories is enough to bring a smile to my face. But I think the biggest (read: most emotional) thing is thinking of what each dog has done to make me proud. I can’t even really limit it to one incident per dog – some of the episodes are big deals, and some are minor things . . . but they’ve all made me proud somehow.
If you have pets, and you’re feeling particularly frustrated (like when your cat shreds your curtains or your dog refuses to listen), follow Leslie’s advice. It will bring your blood pressure down and help you feel even more connected with your furry friend. Enjoy!