Well, let me tell you.
About a week ago, this little fella came to live with us – meet Ernie!!!!!!
See how cute he is at home in my therapy room!
Anyway, I have owned a dog before who was an absolute angel. In puppy classes I spent a lot of the time standing about watching the other dogs running off, (usually after something imaginary) jumping up and pouncing over each other whilst their owners sweated buckets, held on for dear life and gasped for breath.
Lewis, I am sure understood English, I was absolutely spoilt by him. Fast forward to now, I eagerly brought home this ickle ball of fluff, thinking it will be exactly the same. BOY WAS I WRONG! He is more like a rocket on four legs with teeth as sharp as razors.
Bugger I thought, what do I do now?
I felt hopeless. I needed a solution, a way to understand him and to bridge the ever-widening gap between puppy and my family and QUICK. My job became the referee between a puppy and an annoyed family. I was exhausted, confused and upset.
I needed help. But where would I find it? And what help did I need? It was like trying to navigate through a different country, without a map. And I guess like clients who are looking for counselling, I hit the internet. BOOM! I was faced with solution after solution, promises of this, promises of that, techniques with fancy names here, there and everywhere, stories of wayward puppies suddenly seeing the light and becoming angelic. So I began to try them all, one by one, but nothing worked. In fact, it was getting worse. I was growing more and more despondent and my family more frustrated.
Hmmmmm I thought, is this how my clients feel when they know help is required, but do not know where to turn? Probably…..
So very quickly, I decided to ditch all the gimmicks and went searching for a behaviourist. A one to one session tailored to my puppy and my family’s needs.
All I can say is WOW.
As I opened the front door, kids going crazy around my legs, puppy in my arms, tail wagging, tongue out desperately trying to jump onto him, he smiled at us all and I knew that this was gonna be ok.
He was calm, structured, boundaried, not afraid to correct me (in the nicest possible way). He didn’t judge, he encouraged, spotted where we were veering off course, involved the kids and explained everything in detail. And as he chatted to me about operant and classical conditioning, the different boundaries required for a puppy, the workings of their puppy brains and the theory behind the behaviour I thought, hold on a minute, I actually know all this…….psychology is my thing, being attuned is my thing, boundaries are my thing, the brain is my thing and understanding and empathy are my things, but most of all I trusted him.
After two hours he left and I felt so much lighter, he literally picked me up, turned me around and set me on the right path once more. I am pleased to report my family and puppy are now much happier. And me? I am just glad I reached out and found someone who spoke my language and empathised with us all, including the pooch!
So, when you feel that the time is right to seek out help, to find a counsellor, I hope that you find me just as I found this guy……supportive, warm, empathetic, containing and able to give you the tools you need to help yourself.
And you never know Ernie is hopefully going to assist me with therapy when he is older, so you may even get to meet the monkey.