Frustration



Frustration - a feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.

Just the other day I was at the park with Luke and Elsa.  In the distance I could see a man walking two Miniature Australian Shepherds.  Both were on extension leashes which were extended to their fullest.  The dogs were running all around the guy and at one point he stopped;frantically trying to reel in one of his dog and untangle it.  Then as a lady passed by with her dog on a regular leash; he allowed his very out of control dogs to run to the end of the leashes once again and jump around at the end.  Yes, this is frustration in many forms.

Frustration by the woman who was running her under control Labrador.

Frustration for the two dogs lunging and barking at the end of their leash.

AND, frustration for me; not to the degree of the other three, but enough to leave me shaking my head.

Frustration is common in the world of dogs.  There is a great deal of it in the realm of training.  People who do not know what they are doing as far as training goes; often unknowingly cause a great deal of frustration.  People wing their arms around, belting out all sorts of commands leaving their dog very frustrated.  It is frustrating just to watch.  If you don't know what you are doing, ask someone who does.  Many people think that training dogs is easy; when in fact it is not, unless you know what you are doing.  Many trainers have experience but are still not good trainers.   I know many "trainers" who I would not allow to train my dogs.  They may have been training for years but still don't understand the basics of how a dog learns, which causes frustration.

Frustration leads to all sorts of problems.

Shut down - A dog can completely shutdown if they are frustrated enough.  That means you are done; the dog is done and nothing will be learned further. You may have also done enough damage to future training.

Obnoxious behavior - many dogs display obnoxious behaviors when they get frustrated.  Barking, biting, lunging at the person who is trying to train.  It is not true aggression but a form of it caused by frustration.

Offering inhibition - if a dog tries and tries during training and becomes frustrated due to a lack of experience in the trainer, they can cease trying.  When they stop trying you lose.

Being behind a fence with full view of the street where people walk can be a big cause of frustration.  Even a front window can lead to all sorts of frustration and fallout behaviors.  If you aren't around to train your dog to be calm while people walk by, take the view away.

Frustration is not exclusive to our dogs; we too can become frustrated if we don't know what we are doing.  The dog isn't getting it so we become frustrated, never good.  If our expectations are too high, we can become frustrated.  Or, if we expect our dogs to behave more like humans and less like dogs; that can lead to big time frustration.

These are just a few cases of frustration caused in us and our dogs.  Frustration is never good; not for us and not for our dogs.  So when in doubt, throw it out.  Take a big breath, go for a walk, read a book (preferably on positive training), get your dog's attention and interact.   Frustration is not inevitably, deal with it.




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