Dog Driving You Crazy? Try This | Pupford

October 26th, 2022

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Dogs are challenging. No matter the age, breed, or size of your dog there will be situations and behaviors that will drive you absolutely crazy. And guess what, that's totally normal.

I have gone through the ups and downs of being a pup parent in many ways. My wife and I have raised two high-energy Labrador Retrievers, all alongside a Senior Puggle who recently passed away. No matter the age of our dogs, there have always been behaviors and situations that test our patience with our dogs!

When moments pop up that test your
patience with your pup, try out these 3 things to keep your sanity.

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OVERVIEW OF DOG DRIVING YOU CRAZY? TRY THIS

#1- GET SOME SPACE

As with many things in life, if you try to "fix" a situation in the heat of the moment you'll likely not make the wisest decisions.

If your pup is starting to do things and you can feel your patience running thin, take a break. Get yourself some physical distance between yourself and your pup and regroup.

This can be done by putting your dog into a crate (don't use it as a punishment though), in another room, or using a playpen or baby gate.

Taking a few moments away from your dog can help you reassess the situation and calm down.

#2- DO SOMETHING FUN

dogs playing with tennis ball | Pupford

Once you've taken a moment or two of space away from your dog, re-engage with something fun.

You know your dog best, so do something that you know both you and your pup will enjoy. It could be playing tug, throwing a ball, or even some fun (not structured) trick training.

For many of us as pup parents, we originally chose to get a dog because we envisioned the fun moments and memories that come with being a pup parent. So, finding a way to reconnect with that "goal" can be a great way to gain your sanity back with your dog.

Plus, taking part in a fun activity with your pup will help both of your moods and outlooks on the situation.

#3- MAKE A PLAN

This is the most important step. You have to make a plan on how you will improve the behaviors that are driving you up a wall.

If, for example, you get frustrated whenever you go on walks because your
dog barks at other dogs then you can make a plan to combat that.

When will you train that behavior?

What resources will you use?

How often will you practice that training?

How long will you practice when you do the training?

The challenge with many "annoying" dog behaviors is that we often only think about them when they happen. But the truth is, you're not going to train out a problem behavior in the heat of the moment.

Instead, you need to practice the situations the lead to problem behaviors on their own.

So if your dog always barks when people come to the door, don't think you can train that when a stranger knocks on the door. Instead, practice having someone (a neighbor, friend, etc.) come to the door while you are engaged in a training session with a specific plan.

RECAP

dog making a mess at home | Pupford

Although our dogs mean the world to us, they can do things that drive us a little bit crazy. So when this happens, take the time to get some space, re-engage with something fun, and then make a plan to help overcome the problem behaviors causing you stress!

If you're looking for in-depth resources to help overcome challenging behaviors, you can find the techniques as part of
Pupford Academy.

What do you do when your dog tests your sanity? Let me know in the comments!

TRANSCRIPTION OF DOG DRIVING YOU CRAZY? TRY THIS

Devin: This is the Perfect Pup podcast, helping you build a better relationship with your pup. Presented by Pupford. Hello pup parents, and welcome to today's episode of the Perfect Pup podcast. My name is Devin. This is an important episode. From time to time, I'll do more opinion based episodes or experience based episodes and less on the technical or dog training or nutrition or getting experts on. Sometimes I just like to talk about my experience and how I have come to find that there can be real challenges with our dogs. There will be times in your life with your dog, that your dog will drive you crazy. I don't know how to say it any other way than that, but there will be times where you'll be stressed out, you'll be so bothered with what your dog is doing or how they're behaving, or things that they do, or whatever it might be. I'm going to talk about some tools and ideas that I've used personally that have helped me when my dog is driving me crazy. Let's get right into it.

I think, like most things in life, in the heat of the moment it's very easy to get bothered, it's very easy to get frustrated and to become impatient with our dogs. But, as much as we can to mitigate those situations from popping up, the better. But, I want to talk about three things that I've done when my dogs start to drive me crazy. I will say this. Just like you, I love my dogs so much. They are so meaningful to me. They are a very important part of my life. They are part of my family. Truthfully, that's how I feel about my dogs. But, that does not change the fact, just like with other relationships in our lives, there will be times where they are going to do things that just make you go a little bit crazy and make you very, very frustrated and feel overwhelmed, you don't know what to do, and this is what I've done to combat that.

The first thing, and this is more of a, in the heat of the moment, your dog's doing something wild, or you're sitting at your desk, you work from home maybe, and you're trying to focus and get stuff done, and your dog's whining at you, or you look over and they're ripping stuff up, or whatever it might be. Pick the problem behavior, the situation remains the same. I have found, and again, this is more of a life thing and not just dog specific, sometimes you just need space. If you approach the moment with your dog where you're already bothered, potentially upset, definitely feeling impatient, and you want to just try and fix the situation right away, probably not going to have the best results. I've found it very important for me to find times when your dog is just driving you up a wall, get some space from your dog.

Truthfully, and that is why things like crate training or place training or just using baby gates, X pens, whatever it might be, that's why there's value in those things. Obviously it's a safety thing in a lot of cases, but there will be situations where you just need to put your dog maybe in their crate. Don't treat it as a punishment. Again, if they're doing something, you're not going to throw them in there or force them in there. But, with correct crate training principles, you can get them to go in there, have their own space, and kind of let them wind down and let yourself wind down. Because, again, this is a life thing. We all know in the heat of the moment we make poor decisions very frequently. Just getting some space from your dog and getting space from whatever they're doing, and giving both parties time to just decompress, so, so valuable.

The next thing I like to do after that, or sometimes in conjunction, depending on what the situation is specifically, is I've found it very helpful to just do something fun. What I mean by that is, you might be in the middle of a training session and you might be starting to get frustrated, or it feels like your dog isn't listening to you, or whatever it might be, or your dog acted out, do something fun. You know what your dog enjoys. You know what's good for them. Do something that does not have any behavior thing tied back to it. Even if it just means grabbing five toys and just throwing them all across the house and letting your dog go chase after them, doing something to try and reconnect with your dog on a level of, this is why we're together, if that makes sense. Right?

I think all of us in our mind, we have this grand idea of what we want to do with our dogs, how we want them to behave, what we envision. Taking them out to fun places, going on cool hikes, all the things, all the reasons that you potentially wanted a dog. Giving yourself an opportunity to reconnect with your dog in that moment and say this is why. This is the why. Let's play some tug. Let's do some fetch. Let's do some trick training, if that's what it is. Right? Just finding something that's fun for both you and your dog to do together, that is going to hopefully dispel the moments of you being driven kind of mad. That's the second thing.

The third thing, and I think this is the most important in all reality, is to make a plan. Oftentimes, here's an example of my own life. I'll go walking. One of my dogs, Sunny, has kind of digressed with her leash training. I don't really think about it, because it's not that bad, but it's starting to become, there's enough moments where I'm like, "Wow, that's not a good behavior, or that's not really how I want her to behave." In the heat of the moment, when I'm out on a walk on the busy streets, around other dogs, around other people, snacks on the ground, whatever it might be, it's very easy to just get frustrated in that moment. It comes down to taking a step back when you get home or whatever it is, if that's the situation, is leash behavior, and making a plan.

Saying, "Okay, these are the things that are typically causing me frustrations with my dog. What am I going to do to work on those behaviors before they're actually happening and starting to drive me crazy?" Because, what I found from myself personally, again, this is my experience and opinion, is most of the time the things that do drive me crazy, I'm not doing enough to actually improve. I'm not doing enough to be proactive and improve so those situations stop happening with my dog's behavior, and I'm just kind of letting them happen, and when they do, you get frustrated or become impatient. I think it's a good idea to identify exactly, what are the things that typically cause you to get in this feeling of, man, my dog is just driving me wild, I'm getting really frustrated, this is overwhelming, and saying, okay, it's these two behaviors, or it's this situation, and making a plan.

Using resources that are available. There are so many that are available, but I will tell you, all of them will take time, and so you have to find the time, make a plan to say, "Okay, I am going to work on lease training at least for 10 minutes, two days this week, or five minutes for three days this week." Setting tangible goals, again, you can find other content about how to set smart goals, but making a plan, having some goals to go along with it. I don't think it's necessarily imperative that you have the goals be, oh, my dog will not pull on a leash by this date, but more of, this is the amount of times I'm going to train, this is the methods I'm going to try, this is how I'm going to do it, this is where I'm going to do it, this is when I'm going to do it, and having some accountability there. It's so, so important. In the long run, it's going to help you have less situations where your dog may be overwhelming you.

I do want to add one more point here of, if you're listening, watching this, and you're just feeling like, wow, I don't know why I got a dog, I don't know why I got a puppy, this is way too overwhelming. I'll tell you, those moments will continue to happen, and in my experience, they decrease over time often because behavior improves. You work on training, your dog gets a little more mature, all those things that go along with it. But, it is important to remember that it's okay to have those feelings. It's okay to be feeling like you maybe made a mistake or you feel like, I don't know how I'm going to do this, I don't know how I'm going to overcome it. But, hopefully these three ideas will help you to find, not only solutions in the long run, but also a way to cope with it right in the moment.

Quick recap, the first thing I like to do is get some space for my dog. It is a necessity in many instances. The second thing is do something fun. Reconnect with your dog. Do something that they enjoy and you enjoy together, and it'll help you kind of have hopefully that clarity of, right, this is what's important to me. I love my dog. This is what I'm working towards. Then the third thing is to make a plan. You've got to make a plan. Set some goals. Set aside time and say, "This is what I'm going to do." Use the resources. The Pupford app, the Pupford website. I'm very biased, obviously, I work at Pupford. But, there are so many resources there of which a lot of them are free. Yes, we have Pupford Academy, and it will give you a deeper dive into certain courses and I highly recommend those courses, and I use them frequently and I love them. But, there are so many free resources that are available to you to help you make this plan and overcome the problem behavior.

I hope you found this episode helpful. If you know someone who is struggling with their dog right now, or their dog is maybe driving them up a wall, please share this episode with them. I would really appreciate it, and hopefully they would enjoy it as well and find some helpful information. If you have not, please leave a review, especially on Apple Podcast. It's very helpful, very important, and I very much appreciate it. But, other than that, we will catch you on the next episode.

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