Thursday, 1 October 2015

Building Trust - A Personal Experience

Building Trust

Those of you who know Brooks, know the struggle I have had with him and water this summer. It's be a long time training and working together to find way to manage his obsession. Today I finally had a huge moment that made me realize how far we've come. 

Since the summer began I haven't let Brooks in the water off leash as he would swim away and not return. He loses all focus in the water and would shut me out. On top of that he would demand to be in the water screaming, pulling, nothing would snap him out of it. With training we worked on only allowing him on a long line in the water, calming him down before going in and having him use his brain in the water like with a surf board and certain toys.

Things have been getting better as the summer has gone on but I haven't had the trust built up to try him without a long line in the water. I was nervous that Brooks wouldn't come out of the water if I let him off leash. I was afraid of what might happen and I didn't trust him.

So now almost 7 months later I had a boost of confidence in mine and Brooks relationship. I decided today on our walk to let him show me that he can listen and I can trust him. When we got to the part of the walk that I usually call him to leash him up I let it be to see what would happen.

In the first few minutes, he ran to the water about 10 minutes before we got there but once we got to the lake he followed along in the water and came out within 15 minutes. Then he walked with us and was going in and out of the water happily with out fighting!

The feeling I had seeing him in and out of the water and following me and listening - it was so amazing. I've worked so hard to get this with Brooks and I saw the results for the first time today. Don't get me wrong, we still have a lot of work to do - when I am around rivers with him I am still to nervous because of the vastness and the heavy currents. But this was my glimpse of hope that we can cope with this water obsession and even get over it.

Brooks has been a huge lesson in patience for me the last almost 7 months. He has taught me to never give up and push even harder for what I want. He has showed me how important it is to give back to him and give him a chance to show me that he can be trusted.  I am over the moon excited about all the things we have accomplished together as well as how much we will accomplish in the years to come. 

Just a note for everyone, to make sure to give back to your dogs and give them a chance to show you what they can do. They will make you proud and if you work hard enough you will reach the goals made!

Thanks for listening!

Heidi - from the Complete K9 Team

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