Monday Musings from Dr. Pike (yeah, yeah, I know its Wednesday!)...
My musing for today is how life often gets in the way of the perfect training, treatment plan, or really anything (to include posting on facebook, clearly!). And why management can be the easiest thing to do for so many behavior issues.
I tend to be a very practical person, as well as a practical vet behaviorist. Can I insist that my owners practice their training every single day of every single moment they are home with their dogs, or go through all 1,865 pages of Karen Overall's relaxation protocol every night until their dog is breathing deeply? Sure, I can insist it. But will it happen? Well, for some folks it probably would (I jokingly say that many of the owners coming to see me are so desperate for a solution by the time they come in that if I told them to howl at the moon while standing on their head, they would!) But, life is life. We are all busy, torn in a million different directions, with so many obligations and activities that we barely see our spouses or children, let alone have time to train our dogs.
This is one of the reasons that management is one thing that our team emphasizes as being key for treatment. You can easily manage many behaviors. Ike's fear based aggression to unfamiliar people? Managed by the fact that he gets crated when people visit the house. Scooby's resource guarding towards his big brother Ike? No bones, chews, or food are given to any of the dogs unless they are crated away from one another. I dont take my dogs to dog parks, we avoid other dogs and people on walks, and quite frankly my dogs very rarely get walked at all (we have half an acre fenced that they can run around in like fools and we throw the ball several times per day for the tennis ball obsessed Ike).
Management is easy! I have a business, two kids, a husband on Active Duty who travels about as much as I do for his job,speaking engagements all over the country, etc etc. Who has time to train my reactive dog?? Certainly not this girl, the one who is the most qualified to do so in my household (although my daughter is quickly becoming the best cat trainer in the house!). I have decided to get a Canine Good Citizen and AKC Novice Trick Title on Scooby and the thought of having to train for both, including figuring out which 5 tricks Im going to do for his title are enough to send me into an anxiety attack because when am I going to find the time? I cant even find the time to put a rambling word-vomit post on facebook every Monday and its on my to-do list!
Anyway, my advice to you is this- let your "good enough" be "good enough". As long as you arent compromising the welfare of your dog or cat in the process, if all you can get by with is management, do it! I do