After relocating back to California, I found myself in need of a dog therapist. My boys, Luther and Earl, were not adjusting to their new surroundings as easily as I had hoped; in fact, they were beginning to fight. No one had been injured yet and I wanted to make sure that never happened. I initially went to my veterinarian for advice but he suggested I see a behaviorist. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but something had to change. Luther and I went to the initial visit. While Luther slept through the entire two-hour visit, I gave the doctor my entire life history, and when I say entire- I mean EVERYTHING! I think I was more thorough with the behaviorist than I was with my own therapist. Remind me whose therapy was this?
On the next visit, Earl came too. While both Earl and Luther were bored to tears (in Bulldog speak that means a nice long nap!), I continued to discuss my life, our household, and the dynamics of everyone involved. Again, these sessions were turning out to be more therapeutic for me than I could have ever imagined. Clearly, these visits were more for my benefit than the boys. Everything the behaviorist told me seemed obvious; however, reality is much harder to see and therefore address. These problems will continue if everyone is not on the same page.
Here is the main lesson I learned: everyone in the household should be involved in the care of the dog from obedience training to feeding, bathing, and walking. This will provide consistency for your dog and eliminate confusion. Seems obvious doesn’t it? Mixed messages were a definite problem in my household, but with some practice, time and changes to our household, the problem has been resolved. Luther and Earl are getting along famously and I am moving forward in a calm, happy household. Dog therapy has proved to be more helpful (and less expensive) than people therapy!