I Just Drove Down the Road on a Sunny Day with My Windshield Wipers On
Yup, I am THAT person!
When you have dogs, especially if you compete or do anything public with them at all; you learn a lot about humility usually very quickly.
I have also learned that in order to be a good dog trainer, you have to not care what other people think.
I have had to get down on the ground, play bow, clap, run around and do all kinds of crazy thing to engage and or reward a dog! And, I would do it again!
I Will Do Just About Anything in the Name of Dog Training
I will do just about anything in the name of good dog training and trying to give a dog a good experience or work through a bad one.
So my youngest pup is about 8 months old and working through, hopefully his last fear stage, some things bother him (mostly city noises) and some things don’t (I think he could be run over by a tractor and not care) so we are working on the city things.
I am a Country Mouse
But, I am happy to report I am a country mouse; which is probably why he doesn’t care about country noises.
So I have to drive the baby the 45 minutes or more for a good walk in the city.
He is getting better, and I am teaching him that if he is apprehensive he can trust in me to overcome any environmental challenges.
If He Sees Something He is Unsure of I Let Him Check It Out
If he sees something he is unsure of I encourage him to check it out.
I don’t get nervous because I don’t want him to feel any difference in how I encounter my environment.
The leash is like a tether to your emotions, when you get nervous or scared your dog feels it through the leash. It’s not magical (ha ha) it is usually because you tighten your grip or get stiff or your cadence changes.
I do my best to keep everything relaxed and let my pup explore.
Right Now I Don't Even Care if He Pulls
Right now I don’t even care too much if he pulls, I can clean that up later.
Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t allowed to pull me all over the place, I don’t want to feel beat up or sore when I get home; but I do let him explore.
In order to gain confidence in his environment he needs to explore a bit and figure things out on his own.
If he was terrified, I would take complete control and make him adhere to strict obedience and that would help him relax and feel better about whatever he is doing. Obedience can really help a dog that is scared or nervous because it is hard for them to multitask.
But instead of relying on me to control his environment and take on all challenges I would like to see him explore and figure out not everything is trying to kill him.
Socialization is First!
So socialization is first, and precise obedience will come once I have a very confident dog in all areas.
We’d Had a Good Session
So we had had a good training and socializing session, I had made him work for his breakfast while I allowed him to explore his environment.
He saw his first screaming baby in a stroller and took everything in stride.
I was actually quite proud of him.
He Hit the Windshield Wipers on My Car
But on the way home, in an attempt to rub himself on me for affection; he hit the windshield wipers of my car.
I have a very cute two seater hybrid, and there isn’t a lot of room in there for me, much less for a wild puppy!
So it is no surprise that he pulled down my wipers; however he wasn’t sure what to do about the sight of them.
He was definitely taken aback but he wasn’t terrified.
He Wasn't Terrified... Just Taken Aback
My old Malinois used to be terrified of the windshield wipers; if they were on he was hiding somewhere in the car and it made car travel sad and stressful. The same thing had happened when he was a baby but it terrified him and he was never able to totally get over it.
But my Pharaoh wasn’t terrified (or I would have turned them off and worked on it in a more controlled environment later) he was just a little stressed.
So I left them on and put treats on my dash board.
No cooing at him or telling him he was okay, I just let him figure it out on his own.
We probably drove 20+ miles on a sunny day with the wipers on; just letting him realize he wasn’t going to die and that when they were on treats were on the dash for the taking.
By the time I made it home he was much less stressed and more happy to take his treats, but the next time he travels in the car the wipers will go on again.
Riding in the car by itself is a reward because it is a fun thing to do and we usually go somewhere to do something fun, add some treats to that and it is even better.
So the moral of the story is you never know how your dog will react to something; but the more important thing is how YOU react to it! It doesn’t matter what other people think, all that matters is what is best for you and your dog!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.