“Benji! You should know better!!!”This line of frustrations somehow sounds so familiar to us, dog parents. I felt disappointed many times when my dog just wouldn’t do simple task that we’ve been rehearsing for hundreds of times, like not dashing out of the gate without my permission. That is very dangerous and he should know better.
Or so i thought.
I can go on with other situations, but i think you got the idea of what i’m blabbering about. Now let’s think about this area for a second, why has it come to that?
On a good day when the sun is rising from the east as it should, i know this is my fault. This just means i’m not being consistent enough with the training, so my dog just hasn’t acquired that muscle memory, or habit yet. That is my fault to let the gate open without supervising my dog. I know exactly that dog is creature that living in the moment, he wouldn’t think the “what ifs”.
Now why would i felt disappointed when my dog is failed to do certain task, when i know it is not actually their fault? The answer is because of “expectations”. When we do something for some time, we would have this kind of expectations, automatically.
Let me give some analogy for this. When you go to golf driving range practicing that swing, after 3 weeks you would start to feel frustrated that your swing isn’t better than the first week. You started to forget the fun of doing the swing. Eventually you leave that activity out of frustrations.
Both cases have same cause. it is our own expectations.
We should always be aware whether we ask for too much or not. Ask yourself questions before judging out of blind expectation. For me, i asked myself: How long have i done this kind of training? On what age did i start it? Have i been creative enough to put more distractions in the training? And so on. I will feel so much better after i convince myself that i am the one who is not doing my homework.
That being said, i want you to know that what matters is the subject of expectation.
We tend to expect more from our dogs and less from ourselves. This mindset creates a sad life for both us and our dogs. Nobody wins. We keep doing this and your relationship with your dog will go downhill, you keep frustrated and may be starting to be more aversive, and your dog will be confused having zero clues of what happened to the only creature s/he trusted the most. Then what do you need to do instead?
Exactly the opposite! Expect less from our dogs and more from us!
Have a good day to you all 🙂