Dog Training as Therapy

Dogs often find a way to change who we are. To force us to become better people.

For me, dog training has always been a bit therapeutic. A way to challenge my skills, learn new things, and connect with my dog. A way to work my brain and learn more about how brains work in general.

During this COVID craziness, in person dog training classes aren’t a thing for me. I’m not teaching nor am I taking. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to sign up for some online courses so that I can take the time to work on some of Kyu’s neglected skills while I help repair his injury and gut. It’s been nice to still have things to work on and that teacher/student connection. And sense of community. I’ve enjoyed having specific tasks to work on rather than just jumping around on various skills like I usually do.

The class I’m currently signed up for is new: Success with Sensitive Dogs. Risa was a sensitive dog but not nearly to the extreme Kyu is. I certainly feel some of his sensitivity is tied to his GI issues (which are improving) but it’s still something I wanted to work on with him.

What I hadn’t anticipated was how therapeutic the class would be for me. How cathartic it would be. I had to examine my own thoughts and psyche to dig down deep into the roots of our problem. Like, I know any training issue is always my fault. 🙂 But I really had to do some serious soul-searching to figure out why. I had to analyze myself, my thoughts, and my actions to really understand why I was doing what I was doing and how it was affecting our relationship. It was hard. I cried a few times. I was finally recognizing things about myself that had to change.

I learned a better way to cope with my thoughts (which affect my actions in dog training. . .and life). I came to understand that I needed to address aspects of myself that were only hurting our relationship (and, really, hurting myself). It wasn’t what I expected but it has been what I’ve needed. Never would have thought a dog training class would be actual therapy! But here I am learning how to be a better person all because I wanted to do better by my dog.

About Jamie

I'm just a traditionally-trained artist with interests in dog training. I currently teach classes at the local obedience training club (tricks, freestyle, and Rally-FrEe) and I also teach classes professionally for an organization who helps veterans train their own service dogs.
This entry was posted in Dog Training Seminars, Fenzi Academy, GI Issues, Thoughts, Training. Bookmark the permalink.

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