When weeds take over

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by mummyp85, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

    Oct 11, 2019
    North West Norfolk, UK
    No I haven't lost the plot and posted on the wrong forum by mistake. Please read on (sorry long post) but there is a moral to the following story which someone standing on the outside of our circle told to me.

    There was once a gardener who grew the most wonderful flowers. He started with a little seed, nurtured it, fed it, watered it, trained it and loved it until it became the best flower he could hope for. He was so proud and was so happy when people came round and praised his beautiful flower and it became the joy of his life. Then one morning he got up, went to look at his flower and shock horror, this horrible little weed had appeared. He quickly pulled it out and have a big sigh of relief. All was good again. Next day it he couldn't believe it. It was back again. So he pulled it out again. To his horror it kept coming back. It wouldn't go away no matter what he tried. Being a good gardener he refused to use harsh chemicals but persisted in trying to keep pulling the weed out. He became so focussed on this weed, he forgot about his beautiful flower. One day the flower lost its petals and shriveled up. He was devastated. Then his friend pointed out that if he hadn't become so obsessed over the weed, he wouldn't have missed out on the best days of enjoying his flower and would not be as sad as he now was.

    Now this is such a simple analogy but our friend sat with us and applied the story to us and our beautiful pup.
    We started with a seed: our gorgeous little puppy
    We fed him, gave him water, loved him, nurtured him, spend time training, playing and chilling out. We got through the crocopup stage and by 5 months he was doing so well and blossoming into a beautiful flower.
    Then we got to 7 months and it was like a nasty shock the first time the biting and pulling at clothes started in earnest. To be quite honest 25 kg of dog launching at you and grabbing at your clothes was quite frightening. I posted on this subject because it was becoming really bad with certain members of the family. Took on board lots of advice from forum members, tried everything suggested, but we reached the point where we were struggling to cope with this. I was nervous of anyone coming round, stress developed with the OH, family and friends stopped wanting to come round. We did reach total meltdown.
    We couldn't see where it had all gone wrong. We had followed all advice, worked with the trainer, kept daily logs, took loads of videos to watch thru for triggers, but still we reached this bad point. Then we sat down with someone we know who is a behaviourist. She looked at the videos and logs, spoke at length to us, watched our beloved pup in action both when being brilliant and misbehaving. Then she pointed out that the problem escalated because we got caught in the same trap as the gardener in the story. We let the weed(inappropriate behaviour) become the focus of all our attention and by doing so we were missing out on all the good things which were happening and that we should be proud of how much pup is actually getting good at. Our pup was flowering into something beautiful but we just couldn't see because the pressure of the weed had taken over. This led to a lot of talking and airing of thoughts between all of us humans in pups life and some surprising facts came to light.
    Following this we are starting to gain perspective and are working hard to change the way we see things and it is starting to improve a lot. After all it's not the fault of puppy(flower) or the behaviours(weeds) at the end of the day. It is more about our perception of what is happening and how we deal with it, but being emotional creatures it is so easy for us poor humans to fall into these tunnel visioned traps that we can't find a way out.
    So the moral of the story is:
    When you having something beautiful in your life, don't let the negative things get in the way to the point of that's all you see. Problems always have a solution whether it takes a few days or a lifetime to solve. When things go bad, and it's getting you down, seek help from a reputable person. It doesn't cost a fortune and the short time you spend working with them and your gorgeous puppy will be worth it. And finally at the end of the day, once we regained perspective, looking back through where my boy started and what he can now accomplish, I am amazed at how far we have actually come. There is a long way still to go, but this little story has made us look at things so differently. All the time we are in training with pup and we are now getting back to working together and learning every day.
  2. Emma W.

    Emma W. Registered Users

    Mar 26, 2019
    Lovely post. I agree completely and have been working very hard on this myself. Sometimes we get so focused on “fixing” something but it’s worth asking if it really needs to be fixed.
  3. Finley

    Finley Registered Users

    Apr 18, 2020
    Great advice. My puppy has only been with us for two weeks and for the last two mornings he’s started jumping up at me and mouthing my hands. I started yesterday with clam clicker training. I ask him to sit, put my fist on the floor ( signal for down), when he looks at me calmly I click and open my fist which has a treat. I did this about 10 times yesterday and this morning.
    Then when he lay down and rested his head on my foot, I clicked and rewarded ... extending the time by a few seconds each time. I pretended to continue to drink my coffee!
    My fingers are crossed. I hope I’m doing the right thing and I hope this calmness, as in the photo, continues.

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