Jump to content
BC Boards

How do you manage your anger?


Recommended Posts

My two BCs are not perfect. I’m not perfect. My experience with dogs is rather limited (not quite two years yet). So, I do get angry at my dogs. I know, I know, I’ve read about it so often and been told about it even more often: anger will not work well in changing my dogs’ unwanted behaviour, that I only have a two second window of opportunity to do something about said behaviour. But, I do get soooo angry sometimes! (LOL, I feel better already.) My question: how do you manage your anger??? Is there a “best” way of dealing with these emotions?

 

John

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just always keep in mind that what the dog/puppy does is natural/instinctual.. where as what we do/want them to do/ are training them to do is often not. Most mishaps are either natural, or the fault of the person. Barking, biting, chewing, pooping, peeing.. all natural for a puppy. The dog chewing something up that he shouldn't.. fault of whoever left said item in access to be chewed.

 

When we brought Gypsy home as a puppy we right away started crate training her, having read alot about training and puppies and dog behaviour beforehand. We bought the works, crate, baby gates, etc. One day the boy I live with while meeting me at my work and out on our way somewhere, told me that, iinstead of crating the puppy, he simply put the doggy gate up so she was confined to the living room. I was instantly skeptical. I told him I didn't think it was the wisest idea.. she could get into things and destroy something. He said he was with her all day in there and she was mellow and harmless. I said fine. I came home to a destroyed speaker. I had expected it, so I wasn't surprised, and I knew it wasn't the puppies fault. The boy came in a bit before I did.. and before he got a chance to walk into the room I anticipated a bad reaction so I stopped him, and said.. "now.. remember.. you made the decision to leave the puppy out instead of crated, knowing that shes had the opportunity to chew while we were gone, you can't get mad at her, because it was your choice and therefore your fault". He understood, agreed, then saw the damage and couldn't say much else.

 

I just think it's a matter of fact thing. I think you have to take a minute to assess the situation, the behaviour, and see the reasoning behind it. The dog doesn't bark to get on your nerves, destroy things to hurt you feelings, hestiate to frustrate you, there are reasons behind their actions or hesitations. You have to train yourself in a sense, to be observant and understanding.

 

I find a good key is to simply try to find the humour in things.

 

Also remember that positive reinforcement of wanted behaviour will be much more effective than negative punishment of unwanted behaviour. Never yell or say your Dog's name in an angry tone. Their name should be a good thing, they should always want to come at the sound of their name, or know to be at attention, not to fear or hesitate because of anger.

 

Training a dog involves alot more than training a dog, you have to learn how to properlly teach and communicate and react yourself. Patience and time is most important.

 

Goodluck! :rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites

First off, Border Collie pups can be horrible. All you have to do is google "border collie horror stories". That being said, dogs are like raising very sensitive kids in most cases. You would not let a one year old have free reign of the house. Both take constant supervision and lots of patience. Dogs don't need to be beat either, verbal correction really works. Getting angry and frustrated is normal but you need to watch it. These dogs are looking for you to be their leader and constant companion. Their world revolves around YOU. Don't mess that relationship up with your temper tantrams.

 

How do you deal with the dogs. Crate them when you are gone. Watch them constantly until they are house broke and crate them when you can't keep an eye on them. The pups will eat your house if they are not in eye sight. Exercise, exercise, exercise. Start simple obedience training now. Walk the dogs daily. Once you start doing that, then I have one question. How can you be mad at your best friends????

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure, I think we all get upset sometimes. But the important thing is to stay focused on the training. Sometimes it's gets tough and you can get mad, but try not to. Even if you have to put him up and take a short walk, then come back and play ball or do something fun. It can be hard teaching them new things. Just try to take you time and have fun. That's the most important thing! Your Fairly new to dogs so it will take time. Try your best to learn with him and keep it fun.

Link to post
Share on other sites
My two BCs are not perfect. I’m not perfect. My experience with dogs is rather limited (not quite two years yet). So, I do get angry at my dogs. I know, I know, I’ve read about it so often and been told about it even more often: anger will not work well in changing my dogs’ unwanted behaviour, that I only have a two second window of opportunity to do something about said behaviour. But, I do get soooo angry sometimes! (LOL, I feel better already.) My question: how do you manage your anger??? Is there a “best” way of dealing with these emotions?

 

John

 

Seeing Speedy become arthritic and hardly able to move and facing the fact that he might not be with me for long really changed the way I view my dogs.

 

It was a good thing because Dean did plenty that would have made someone who didn't have that perspective very angry on many occasions! But going through that with Speedy really made me see that torn up things, broken things, and annoying things pale in comparison to the fact that I only have a very short time with these dogs. And the time when they are young and full of vigor is precious, in spite of the difficulties.

 

Through therapy, Speedy is much better now - part of the reason for that is because of Dean. I have hope of many more good years with him now.

 

But that experience did give me a very different perspective.

 

That's not to say that I don't feel anger toward my dogs sometimes, but I find it much easier now to step out of the situation, gather my emotions together, and move forward from there.

 

There is a lot of time to teach dogs more appropriate behavior - it doesn't need to be done in seconds. Management in the short term, and training in the long term can be highly, highly effective, and it is the apparoach to behavior modification that I choose for my dogs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just take it out on my husband :rolleyes:

Seriously, when our lab got into something, I used to got mad at my husband because he refused to crate Cooper and would rather have things destroyed! He is learning that it is 99.9% of the time it's human's fault when the dogs do anything 'wrong'. If the dog does not do what we ask him to do, then we are not communicating right. If the dog gets into something, the humans are not managing the situation.

Like others when I get frustrated with dogs, I just put the dogs up and do something else until I am relaxed again.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi John!

I have a quick temper sometimes and would get frustrated easily.

I don't get angry at my dogs at all anymore once I realized one thing.

If I am working with a dog and he/she doesn't do what I want it's only

because I have not found a way to make the dog understand what I want.

It's not that the dog is wanting to thwart me. Once you realize these dogs

want to please you and will give you want you want if they understand what

you are asking, you won't get angry anymore. It's just up to you to try

different things until your dog understands what you want. Now if I get

irritated it is at myself and not the dog. Sometimes have someone

else watch you work your dog. Maybe they will see something that you are

missing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that my posting should have been more explicit given the sensitivity of the topic. When I get frustrated, angry, all caught up in my emotions, believe me I do crate my dogs, with “douceur”, and walk away with my emotions. I love these dogs, they have changed my life. What I really was getting at was, am I an exception? Do you people also get angry once in a while? What triggers the emotion? And what do you do with it? In my case, faulty recall is what gets to me instantly – to much pride and still too large an ego I guess. Yesterday, both BCs ran across the (country) road chasing god knows what, and I just could not stop them. This time, they (I) were lucky... Yes, I was particularly upset. And thanks for all the response – we do love our dogs don’t we!

 

John

Link to post
Share on other sites

John

 

Of course it's natural to feel angry at times. And what we think is anger, is often not anger at all, but fear, or grief.

 

Like you say, it's what you do with it that matters. Never take out your anger on your dog. Beyond that I have a slightly different take on it. When the dogs dashed off and ignored you, leaving you feeling helpless and with a loss of control, it triggered a strong reaction in you - some half submerged memory, perhaps; something for you that is completely unrelated on the face of things to the incident that had just occurred. Does that make any sense to you? If it does, sit down somewhere quiet, close your eyes and think back to a time - perhaps in your childhood when you felt that same jumble of painful emotion. That may give you a clue to what is going on.

 

In practical terms, as far as the dogs go, it's simple - think through carefully the chain of events that led to the incident - then make sure it doesn't happen again. That's it.

 

But that wasn't really what you were getting at I think. I have learned that anger is as natural and authentic an emotion as any other. I would treat with great suspicion anybody who tries to have you believe that anger is wrong and dangerous - a symptom of egocentricity or 'self will run riot.' That is plain nonsense and possibly very damaging. Of itself anger is nothing to be ashamed of. It's a very useful emotion.

 

Far from being ashamed of being angry, listen to what it's telling you. Use it to serve you well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't often get angry with my dog - he came home mostly house-perfect, and rarely does much "wrong" in our everyday lives besides bark a bit too much at the window. Outside our home, I have to monitor his behavior around other dogs, and if I mess up, he can have a bad interaction - but I take that on as my misreading or not paying enough attention - not his failure.

 

However, I think I know what you're getting at. I teach middle school, which can be an incredibly frustrating experience. I don't often get really angry anymore, but when I was a newer teacher, I used to let my frustration lead to anger more often. When you think you've explained directions and behavioral expectations really clearly, and no one is honoring what you just said, it does sort of slap you in the face. It feels as though your authority is being challenged, and feels as though there's an inherent disrespect.

 

The key, for me (with both the kids and the dog, I guess) was learning to read the situations as being more about cause and effect than about disrespect for me. Eventually, I figured out ways to be sure, ahead of time, that the kids knew what I expected of them. Then I was much less likely to find them floundering, not doing what I hoped they would. On top of that, I learned what sort of situations lead to bad behavior... and I would have a back-up plan ready, in case the behavior wasn't what I hoped. Quick summary: "We're going to play a review game. However, the teachers on either side of us can't work if we make too much noise, so I expect you to keep your noise level down. If it gets too loud, then we'll break up the groups, end the game, and do a review sheet instead." Sometimes, with some classes, the dynamics and social interactions with a loose class environment lead to noise and chaos. So, I calmly end the game and get out the review sheet. Rather than feeling emotions about the behavior ("They won't listen! They're so rude!") I just try to look at it as a problem with a logical solution: "They can't handle this game today, so we'll have to review in a more traditional way."

 

I know that's a bit off-track, and technically not so dog-related, but I think the feelings of anger at having things creep out of your control come from the same place. It sounds like you're able to act correctly with your dogs even when you feel less than happy with them - which is the key, I guess!

 

But yes - I also agree that anyone who says they never get angry is lying. I think they lie to the world, and I think sometimes they lie to themselves, which is scary.

 

Mary

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, I get frustrated with the dogs at times, but I try and remember that they're dogs and not trying to frustrate me (for the most part, that is :rolleyes: ). Most all of time it is either a training or management issue - which makes it my issue to deal with!

 

I'll put the dogs up, cool off, and think of how I can prevent the same thing from happening in the future - either through training or managment.

 

In my case, faulty recall is what gets to me instantly – to much pride and still too large an ego I guess. Yesterday, both BCs ran across the (country) road chasing god knows what, and I just could not stop them. This time, they (I) were lucky... Yes, I was particularly upset.

 

I'd be doing two things here. #1, don't let them loose together for a while and #2, practice recalls, recalls, recalls. Make it the greatest thing in the world for your dog to come to you. Keep treats/toys on you at all times and throw a party when they come. Do this inside, outside, 20-30 times a day with each dog. Gradually add in more and more distractions as well

Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe that my posting should have been more explicit given the sensitivity of the topic. When I get frustrated, angry, all caught up in my emotions, believe me I do crate my dogs, with “douceur”, and walk away with my emotions. I love these dogs, they have changed my life. What I really was getting at was, am I an exception? Do you people also get angry once in a while? What triggers the emotion? And what do you do with it? In my case, faulty recall is what gets to me instantly – to much pride and still too large an ego I guess. Yesterday, both BCs ran across the (country) road chasing god knows what, and I just could not stop them. This time, they (I) were lucky... Yes, I was particularly upset. And thanks for all the response – we do love our dogs don’t we!

 

John

 

I think what Elizabeth said (Dalesred) is very good advice. I can relate exactly to the situation you describe. In terms of recall and running across the street. This is one of those situations where you could lose your dog in a second. That contributes to the anger. The fact that they would have so little disregard for your feelings that they would disobey your instruction and quite possibly end up being killed. There is nothing worse than this. I have had my strongest emotions in exactly the same situations. Once my first dog chased a squirrel and ran between two giant snowplows, narrowly missing being killed. I think when we react with such force, it is because we are being reminded of our failures. It means we haven't worked on recall as much as we should -- and that it is critical that we teach our dogs to listen to us. I have, of course, struggled with this with both my dogs. I had seen a dog get run over by a car when I was younger and so when I got my first dog, the most important training I did with her was to heel when crossing the street and to stop and sit and wait for me at every curb. What's great about border collies is that they can be trained with hand signals so I have worked with Skye on getting her to "down" with hand signals from a distance -- this seems to be a better way to get her to stop when its imperative that she do so. Anyway, your work is harder because you have two dogs and they are more difficult to deal with when they're together having a good time. Have you worked on their recall individually? This would no doubt help. Also try a whistle. But don't delude yourself -- we're all guilty of losing our tempers. After all, you're having a strong reaction because you care so much ... just remember that showing them your anger is not the answer. Just use it as a tool to remind yourself that you have more work to do.

 

Ailsa

Link to post
Share on other sites

I get frustrated. But not with the dogs, mostly with myself. Usher, my male dog, had a habit of running off when he was young. I could see that glazed look in his eye and knew I had lost his attention and was too slow to react. So, I just take a deep breath- remember I love my dogs and most of the training issues are MY mistakes. After I would go get him and take him by the collar saying "home...home" . Then I go in the house sit down and relax and think about how I'm going to solve that problem. Now, he doesn't leave the yard. Tested again today when his 3 favorite things came by, two young children, one on a bike and their dad with a golden retriever-he LOVES other dogs. He was on a sit stay in my driveway, along with Bailey, my rescue. The man even mentioned how well the dogs behaved. I just laughed and said " I'm trying".

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really glad to have read this thread. I get angry with my dogs, and I have a hard time just "walking away". Later, I realize that training while mad or upset does more damage than good. But it's SO hard to walk away some times. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one fighting this battle. Patience, and knowing when to just put the dogs away from 15 minutes is something I'm working hard to instill in myself. The last thing I want to be is an unfair trainer for my dogs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't read all the replies, so there may be some repetition here, but this is definitely one I deal with! I have not been blessed with an over-abundance of patience. I got angry with my dog quite often when I first adopted him--we were still trying to gain an understanding of one another, and I hadn't quite accepted him for who he is yet.

 

Now, I occasionally get frustrated while training. I have adopted the philosophy that anything my dog does wrong is my fault--if my dog is not getting something, I'm not teaching it right. If I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong, and both of us are just getting frustrated, I just stop training.

 

I think lowering my expectations has also helped--I get frustrated now, but I get angry less often. My dog is a dog, not a machine, not a human with fur. He doesn't have an inherent understanding of language--it's amazing that a dog can learn verbal commands at all, I think. He also doesn't have any understanding of why I want him to do certain things, like lay down and stay when there are all sort of good smelling things just over there. :rolleyes: Also, dog have good and bad days, just like people do--days when they can control themselves well, and other days when they just don't feel like it. We have those days all the time, yet we expect that a dog should not and should be able to control themselves better than we can.

 

So, that was probably very rambling and disjointed, but the bottom line is, when you are getting frustrated, just stop--stop training, or if you weren't training and the dog is just being a pita, put him away while you cool down. Think about all the things you love about your dog and all the times he has made you proud, and remember that he is just a dog.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I empathasize with you. I have had 1 dog, my first dog I had to 'train' for 6 years and my 2nd dog, with aggression issues and I still feel so new. Both are my current dogs. I have come to learn that training is a talent and some are better than others or it just takes more time (for ME not you OP!) Then you throw in this remarkable fabulous breed and it can be really trying...

 

My dogs trigger and lead a lot of emotion in me.

 

Let's see:

-anger-they disobey and yep it feels intentional but then quickly I hear much of what is said above -they arn't out to do this, its my fault, need to work on something else etc. When I loose my cool, both dogs just looks at me like I am crazy and at times I'd have to agree. When I get angry it shifts from them quickly to me. Then I come and post and ask for advice :rolleyes:

 

-guilt-underutilized BC who could've been a superstar and whose progress was hijacked by the aggressive Aussie's issues who I can't seem to fix=a large bowl of frustration at times.

 

Then there's the big pot of joy. Really. Which is a strong emotion too. Although I can say, I am not so 'talented' in the dog training world, these two dogs and a very very very sensitive BC who reads ME like a book, have opened up a world I didn't even know exisited. Sometimes I think I am just so so so wrapped up in them it may be unnatural altho it doesn't feel like it.

 

About Dalesred's comment...I think some people kind of disregard the past as being a part of the present but I don't. Since I was a kid I had a very sick mom. 4 cancers AND she is still with us! Then, she got a dx of Hep C from one of the many surgeries she's had. She felt so defeated. We all did. After escaping all these huge, scary, uncertain situations and surviving cancer, she gets this Hep C-which you can't cure or remove or radiate out. All my life I tried to fix, cure , ease, and help her and now I was out of moves. I got Shep that same week. I think b/c I moved onto the next thing I could save. Its like a habit almost. Obviously I did not get him b/c I thought I was a good trainer. He was suffering in front of my face, across the street from me. SO I digress, but I wanted to support was Dalesred said. I think in reflecting on your own reaction to things, particularly things that are difficult, some nuggets of self understanding can emerge.

 

Aren't you lives kind of inter-woven with your dogs?

 

The dogs to me have become a mirror, a reflection for so much more then I would ever have imagined. They've been my teachers. I like to think about this stuff b/c to me dogs are so much more than pets, athletes, workers, soft things or whatever....they've got a wealth of gifts that I don't think any human could give.

 

One more thing, I think to train yourself not to get angry or upset is part of the process of dog training. That's something ya don't hear about much.

 

Thanks for posting this thread.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a lot of trouble with anger when I first started dog stuff, as a young adult. I was never allowed pets as a kid, more's the pity - as I have learned so much about dealing with what is out of my control via the dogs. I would have been a much nicer kid, I don't doubt, having learned those lessons early on.

 

As I progressed in training, I continued to raise the stakes - first working with my pets, then competitive situations, then dealing with rescues (in my mind, being responsible for dogs who would live in other families), and finally working with dogs in livestock management situations, where the life of a dog, a sheep, or even a person can easily be at risk (when moving sheep across a traffic road, for instance).

 

Even in the latter instance, it's been a difficult lesson to learn that emotions not channeled properly, do nothing but hinder the task at hand. In most of the situations where emotions start rising, these days, I don't have the option of quitting, walking away. I can only try to gather my strength and rein in what's going on in my head and mentally take a step back.

 

One thing that helps is reminding myself of the very, very basics of what we're trying to do. In the case of the sheep, the lowest common denominator is instinct - without instinct there's nothing, and it's instinct that will help the dog de-stress safely. If it's practical, we'll just chase sheep around a bit and see what happens. So many times I've had a real breakthrough in the dog's training - and my own understanding! - when we do that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
it's been a difficult lesson to learn that emotions not channeled properly, do nothing but hinder the task at hand

 

....that what I MEANT to say!

 

Great wisdom in those words.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I get really frustrated sometimes with the recall as well. Tiga was doing so well.....then the snow melted. Lots of new things to smell that are so much better then coming to me when I call him. I have to constantly remind myself not to get frustrated with him. We had to basically start all over with him and he's almost 4. I try to convert the frustrated energy into postive energy. If I can't do that then I stop training for a while.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...