Fast consumer culture and easy fix/makeover expectations in our society makes the idea of achieving things seem like an overnight, all or nothing process. But much of achieving lasting change is ... a slow process. Or at least slower than our impatient selves would like. Yes sometimes change can be dramatic and quick and surprising. But most often, it is about putting in the effort and commitment and celebrating those small milestones that many dog and owners may take for granted. Whether it is a calmer walk, or reducing reactivity, or better manners.
Yes I have seen some amazing transformations too. But don't be fooled, behaviour modification involves the human and dog working together as a team. Change takes time. And I am just as happy for the client who after our first session, finally managed to walk their dog out the front door and back, after she was stuck in a bad headspace: frozen in fear for months and months after a traumatic walking incident. For this beautiful but quivering, fearful dog, making her first few hesitant, brave steps towards conquering her fears were truly ground breaking. To watch her facing her fears and moving towards a better headspace is what makes it all worthwhile. But this will take time. She is not there yet. But, every day a little more of her fear is conquered, a little more confidence grows, and a little more bravery is exercised.
For another dog, this week marked the first time he and his owner were able to walk around the lake without the dog lapsing into extreme fear or panic. He'd put the work in and led his dog out of the mental blocks. Also stuck in a fear-state and being overwhelmed by panic, for this dog and his owner, reaching a walking milestone was cause for celebration.
Change can be hard, but its about getting up every day and doing a little more, making brave decisions, and finding a way to keep moving forward together