Sunday, October 17, 2021

Are You Overwhelmed?

 Are you overwhelmed when it comes to training your dog?

Being overwhelmed is a common problem that many dog owners struggle to get passed.  Whether your current dog is more challenging then previous dogs, your current schedule is too much, or your health and well being is not where you'd like it to be.  All of these things lead becoming too overwhelmed to focus on training your dog.  This month my focus is on developing the bond with your dog, becoming the handler/dog team of your dreams.  In this post I'm going to talk about that deeper connection with your dog that you are looking for.  It may seem like the other posts all point to things you may be doing wrong with your dog training.  But this post is going to focus on what you are doing right with your dog training.  Because I'm 100% sure that if you've found your way to my site, that you ARE doing some things right with your dog!  And I'm pretty sure your already doing the #1 action that is most likely to help improve your human-dog bond and develop the teamwork you've always wanted.

Here it is!  Are you ready?  The #1 most important thing that I believe you can & should do with your dog...HAVE A DAILY CONNECTION.  Ok, what does that mean?  This is not a one size fits all kind answer.  You are an individual & your dog is an individual.  You both have different needs.  You both have different skills & abilities.  And you both have different things that you love!  And the trick to being a great team is finding something you both love to do together.  This can be anything from participating in dog sports, hiking through the woods, snuggling on the couch, playing silly games, or really anything that you both love.  As a dog owner, we all go through emotional stages where we feel love for our dogs & feel loved by our dogs.  Then life gets turned upside down, and we wonder if we really are the best person for our dogs or is the dog the best dog for us.  As humans we all have really strong emotions, that often we can't control or understand.  We easily get overwhelmed with trying to do what's best for everyone around us, including our dogs.  We have a great LOVE for our dogs.

But I bet if you really looked at your situation, you would see how much your dog LOVES you!  Animals are far better at showing unconditional love then we are as people.  If someone always shows up late for a meeting or event, we tend to get annoyed.  But if you show up late for a session with your dog, they don't get annoyed because they are happy that we've arrived.  If you leave your dog home, when you return they happily welcome you home.  Now if you always walk your dog at the same time every day then one day your plans change, they will probably let you know you are forgetting something, but they still love to go for that walk when you can fit it into your schedule.  How many times have you had a bad day and then made a grumpy comment to your dog...Go Lay Down! Just stop it!  Enough already!  But you know that as soon as your emotions even out or that stress level you're feeling goes down, your dog will be right there hoping to enjoy some time with you.

Dog trainers frequently make the statement that "You're stress or emotions travel down the leash to your dog.  This is mostly used to refer to fearful dogs, when a known trigger appears we as people tense up and our dogs feel that.  But this also applies to the good feeling emotions that we have.  If you are relaxed, your dog will often relax.  If you are feeling silly, your dog will often do silly things to make you laugh.  If you have a ton of energy from an adrenaline rush, your dog is very likely to match that energy level.  So if you are feeling overwhelmed in a training session with your dog, chances are that dog is going to get overwhelmed real quickly.  Are your frustrated?  Are you confused?  We can't stop it from happening, our dogs are too good at reading our emotions.  So what can we do?  

Another common imagery among dog trainers is to use buckets to keep track of stress levels.  On any given day our "stress bucket" or our "fun bucket" might be empty, overflowing or somewhere in the middle.  As the human part of the team, we can somewhat predict how certain activities will add to certain buckets.  And while we may not be able to control every aspect of the day, we can add to the most important buckets (love, exercise, brain power, confidence) and work to keep the undesired buckets (overwhelm, anxious, fatigue) from overflowing.  And the best way to manage our buckets is to understand which activities add to each bucket.  Again since we are all individuals and so are our dogs, this is not a one-size-fits-all problem.  

This is why we spend 20 weeks each winter doing the Workshop:  Building a Better Bond.  It's not that one week is the awesome, most exciting answer to all your problems.  By participating in the weekly topic for just 5 minutes a day, you can learn more about your connection with your dog finding the activities that work best for your team!  This is exactly why this workshop is great for dogs of all ages, all training levels, all roles within the family, etc.  We start out with very simple goals on Monday that any dog can accomplish.  Tuesday you will receive tips and tricks that can help you make your training sessions better.  Mix it Up Wednesday is where you will learn about games that can help you have fun together as team to accomplish your goals for the week.  All along the way, you can get help troubleshooting any problems you have.  So if you have physical limitations, our admin staff can suggest an alternative way to accomplish your goals.  If you can't find time in your day to do the activities, our admin staff can help you break down the activities to smaller steps that you slide into your day instead of a long training session that your too exhausted to make progress.  All of the admins have their own training styles and limitations, but by working together workshop participants can figure out what works best for their team.  And if your still not convinced that the Winter Workshop will help you and your dog, I recommend that you reach out to the admin team with your questions.  

The 2022-2023 Workshop Admin will include:
Penny Beeman at
Ashlynn Holt at 
& Elliot Brooks at

For general questions about Workshop registration please email for assistance.

At the Crazy2Calm Canine Coach Collaborative we are passionate about dog training and doing the best we can for our teammates.

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