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Where did I go wrong?

One of the main questions I get asked on a regular basis.

This is not a question that has a straight-forward answer.

There are many things that could have triggered or be contributing to our dog's reactive behaviour.

However, blaming yourself and beating yourself up is doing no one any favors, even if you have potentially made some bad choices unintentionally and unknowingly I guarantee you did those things because you were either; 1) Given advice by a “professional”. In this case we go to a professional with trust. We assume they know what they are talking about, so we listen and implement what they say. Unfortunately, the training and behaviour world is not regulated, so despite someone claiming they are a professional, what credentials and experience do they have to back this up? Always check.

2) You read it somewhere, watched a YouTube video, saw something on TikTok, or that expert on the Telly did the same thing with another dog and it magically worked. Oh, boy. Where do I start here? Media, social pressure, advertising, and social media can be educational and useful, or they can be deadly. Unfortunately, the percentage of positive to negative is outweighed. The good news is things are starting to shift in the right direction. But as an innocent, desperate owner you are willing to try anything. And if that Facebook post by that flashy trainer or that man on TV said that’s what you do, then guess what you’re going to try it.

3) The packaging said…. Ah, yes, the equipment that claims to stop your dog barking, lunging, etc. wonderful tool, NOT! If you take only one bit of advice from this post, then please know this, none of them do what they say they do. They may initially but it soon wears off. There are major potential health and behavioural repercussions of these also, but I cannot dive into them here. This is something that deserves a post all on its own.

4) The experienced dog owner who KNOWS EVERYTHING, but also knows absolutely nothing. They are very keen and enthusiastic and convincing in the advice they give you. Why wouldn’t you give it a try, after all, they have had dogs their whole life, rescued several times, and dealt with pesky reactivity. They must know what they're on about. Unfortunately as good wiled their intentions may be, they do not know you or your dog, they do not know your dog’s history, his triggers, his emotional needs, his day-to-day needs, whether or not he has potential health problems causing behaviour change, so many things they do not know which are extremely important and dictate the type of approach you take or the techniques implemented to help support your dog.

By now you may have read something here that resonates with you, and are starting to think something like ‘oh, that’s where I went wrong, I should not have done that’, but like I said at the beginning there can be many factors that cause and contribute to behaviour change, we will be exploring these in more detail soon.

But the answer to your question ‘where did I go wrong’ is not a straightforward one. You may have done nothing wrong, regardless of whether you made some not-so-great choices. However, even if you were placed under the spell of one of the above, it does not mean you have failed your dog or are a bad owner. You are trying everything you can to help your dog.

You can only do what you can with the knowledge you have at the time.

So don’t beat yourself up.

Give yourself some credit for noting that your dog needs help, and for trying to help him. The choices you make from now on will be more beneficial and safe because you are here in Hub getting the right advice and support. So, celebrate that. You are on the right track.

If you feel like you’re ready to go to the next level and want to work with a professional that not only helps to support your dog, but also you as well, oh, and is also fully qualified in the field of behaviour and training, then let’s talk.

I would love for you to tell me about your dog and the current challenges you are facing.

You can book a FREE discovery call here:

For some generalized info and a safe, supportive network join the Canine Reactive - Support Hub. It’s FREE.

Before I go, just a side note: I know how you feel, I get it! I have been exactly where you are right now, experiencing everything you are experiencing and feeling. I have both personal and professional experience when it comes to reactive behaviour.

So, let’s chat.

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