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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am feeling like a horrible trainer/pet owner/human being.

I arrived at the dog park this morning at 10:00 am, since my friend usually asks to go around 10:30 or 11, and I know it's going to take me a while. Well, today was no different EXCEPT Levi was a total superstar walking today! He didn't even pull until we got closer to the park, and my friend and her Mini Aussie showed up. Heidi on the other hand, holy crap. I couldn't take more than one step.
So, 45 minutes into our walk, Heidi is pulling me like mad. I'm getting super frustrated, and feel like I'm about to cry. About halfway to the park, after one hour, I just snapped. I lost it, and saw red, totally lost my cool. I grabbed her leash near her harness and forced her into a down. Ugh, I cannot believe it. She didn't seem super unhappy about it and as soon as we took a step forward, bam, right to the end of her leash again. (If anything it totally reinforces that +P does not work) Anyway, I feel terrible about it, I just was at my limit. I've attached a picture of the park from my car so you guys can get a sense of how far it is. Anyhoo, we got to the park after another 30 minutes, so 1.5 hours total. They were very happy, ran around like crazies and got nice and dirty. Plus side, it only took us 10 minutes to walk on a loose leash back to the car. ;)
Anyway, my question is, does anyone know of any good techniques for the PERSON involved to calm down? I just need to know of any way to bring me back to the moment. I'm very good for a while, but eventually, I just can't take it.
 

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I'm sorry I don't have anything to offer other than stopping, maybe sitting down if there is a bench and just breathing, although I have tied Tessa to a tree before when she was being a brat, sat down near her, and waited until she was ready to be reasonable. I've also turned right around, went home, took off all the gear, texted friends that we were either going to be late or not coming that day, and waited until my levels of frustration went down and she chilled out a bit.
 

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Happens to everyone. You feel terrible when it happens but we're only human. Best techniques to calm down is to just sit and chill for a bit, preferably without the dog or with the dog contained/tethered. Have a drink (don't mean alcohol!) or talk to a friend. Just do something that cools you down for 10-20 minutes then go back to the dog.
 
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Forcing her into a down isn't the same as maliciously kicking her. Without having been there I can't say for certain but it sounds like it wasn't even P+. Lots of dogs are accustomed to a certain amount of physical manipulation (for grooming, at the vet, posture corrections) if she didn't look reprimanded she probably didn't feel reprimanded.

Bottom line: If she didn't feel terrible about it, you shouldn't feel terrible about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Forcing her into a down isn't the same as maliciously kicking her. Without having been there I can't say for certain but it sounds like it wasn't even P+. Lots of dogs are accustomed to a certain amount of physical manipulation (for grooming, at the vet, posture corrections) if she didn't look reprimanded she probably didn't feel reprimanded.

Bottom line: If she didn't feel terrible about it, you shouldn't feel terrible about it.
I don't even think it fazed her. I might be over-reacting. Actually I've seen MUCH worse than a forced down at the park, but I'm a huge softie.
 

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Maybe you can find a way to rejig your schedule or training so that you don't 'lose it'. The real mess up is not the forced down but loosing it. Confusing for a dog, everything's all nice, and then you start acting weird, of course they won't learn from that, it's random from their point of view.
Sometimes we need to consider the human's needs as well as the dogs. If you 'lost it', you need to make these outings better for you,--ie. ask yourself, how could I have done things differently to avoid 'loosing it', or how could I make the outing more relaxing or positive for you so that you don't get frustrated. Sometimes we are so busy with the dog, we forget that the human is also a living feeling creature with needs.
Have a cookie for you, and some fun with your dogs, and all is well.
And of course, we forgive, even expect, our dogs to make mistakes, so we shouldn't expect more from ourselves, which calls for a second cookie, chocolate chip, and licks and hugs from your pups.
Be nice to yourself, in other words.
 
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Save a video of your dog doing something silly or cute or funny on your phone. When your dog is being a brat tie her to something and watch the video to remember why you love the stupid creature (not calling your dog a stupid creature... just any dog that drives its human to the point of distraction!)

Call your dog rude names, think of as many as you can and just say them. Threaten to take her to a dog meat factory or back to the pound or leave her out for the bears.

On side note, the last time I called my dog a stupid mutt, she actually turned and looked at me. I think she thinks her name is "stupid mutt"
 

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This is really why I use happy voice. Koda doesn't care about happy voice but it really forces me to chill out.

You could take a pause, too, and just stop walking and chill for a bit. Go off the path and sit in a snowbank or something. Smell a flower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@Ems - Heidi does seem to respond to "Brat" quite a bit... ;)

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. Sometimes I need to slow my roll and recognize that my dogs are both still young (Heidi turned 7 months yesterday!) and Levi is almost a month and a half, so mistakes are certainly still expected. I need to zen out and relax.

I feel like in all my frustration about Heidi, I am really under-selling that Levi walked BEAUTIFULLY to the park. This is not a step, or leap forward, but a massive jump. This is the dog that used to drag me from the car, the whole way. And it was busy today, like 15 dogs!
 

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I had a similar dilemma not long ago. It happens, just as we are constantly reminding everyone on here that dogs can have their off days, so can we. You recognize what you did is not something that works and was an incorrect way to handle the situation.

There are times when I get really frustrated with Aayla's treat spitting and I feel like I have a fish at the end of a line, instead of a dog that I have put months and months of training into. Sometimes I have to sit there and let her act like that and just breathe...and breathe. Insulting her with dumb names seems to lighten my mood. I'll threaten to have the dog catcher get her, that she won't get dinner, that she has stupid teenage brain, mush brain, cute little butt munch and so on...
 
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