Nobody really knows what it’s like to have a reactive dog unless you have had one. It feels lonely sometimes, like you are the only one paddling in a boat with no sign of any shorelines. On your journey people may have passed you in boats telling you that you need to force the current to go with you, you must push the water to do your bidding. You decide to try pushing the water with all of your will, yet you make no progress. In fact it seems as if you fall back further than where you started. Instead you don’t force the water because you realize nothing can be forced in life, water has a life of its own. You paddle making progress, yet you have setbacks when storms arise. When you decide to set goals and take the time to get there when the water is ready to work with you, instead of endlessly paddling in a panic against the currents, you realize there is a shoreline in the distance. You open your eyes and realize you aren’t alone and that there are more people out in the water with you. Instead of passing you, the people seem to be on the same journey as you…working with the water to one day get to the shoreline. You share strategies on paddling and working with the current and suddenly it’s like a weight lifts off of your shoulders. You no longer feel alone, you no longer feel hopeless. You will get to the shoreline. If it’s not the shoreline with the beautiful pink sand, at least it can be the shoreline with the palm trees.
Never give up helping your reactive dog. Find a way you can work together, instead of forcing them to do what you want. You are not alone, find others-trainers, behaviorists, online groups, blogs, etc. Nobody really knows what it’s like to be a reactive dog mom or dad, but you don’t have to paddle alone.