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Frustration is high
  • Post edited by sunyata at 2017-09-05 11:51:14
  • ZenkiZenki
    Posts: 396
  • It was a rough morning. Struggled for what seemed like forever trying to get her harness on her so we could go to puppy class. Ended up staying home because neither of us were in any mental shape to deal with the stress of puppy class
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    Ugh. The harness. I had a huge issue with that recently---still, do, actually. We use the harness to hook Coal up to his long leash for running/play time. He has come to hate it, and I think it is because it doesn't fit well, or it just isn't a good match for him. It's a step-in kind that clips over the shoulders. He never had a problem with his other harness, the one where we slipped it over his head and snapped the sides. We also have almost no trouble with his new comfortflex limited slip collar, which we got to mostly replace the harness and help on walks.

    Check that the harness is fitting correctly: not too loose or too tight. If the fit is good, then it is probably the harness. OR a teenager XD Not sure how old your pup is :)

    As for frustration levels: first things first: she's just a dog. I know this means a lot of things to different people, but remembering this helps me a lot when I am really frustrated. Dogs don't really have a vendetta thing, and they don't do things to spite or make you (and themselves!) frustrated. BUT they have a limited ability to communicate with us about what they do and don't like, when something is uncomfortable or painful, etc. This thinking of "just a dog" helps me to step back and try to figure out what my pup is trying to tell me. That's my job, to figure it out (because I am the human.) If I can't figure it out and he gets worse, that's on me, not him.

    Another thing I try to do is focus on whatever cute thing he is doing or did earlier or does afterwards. It helps take the sting out of frustration (because we are human and we have feelings, too).

    If I am really frustrated and just can't take it--maybe I am having a bad day or something-- I stop. I just stop, take a deep breath, walk away, take a break and try to relax. Getting frustrated increases your own pup's frustration--which in turn increases your own. It is a vicious cycle and someone has to break it (IE the human haha). If I can't get his harness on for play time and I am getting really angry or frustrated, I may just opt for no play time or to try again later if I can.

    The vet gave the same advice for our biting issue. If he gets bity/pushy, stop feeding time (we hand feed right now) and give him ten or twenty minutes to relax and figure out that his attitude is NOT getting him what he wants. Patience and removing yourself from the situation is sometimes the best option.

    You might want to invest in a comfortable collar you trust, or another form of control like a head collar or something. Have some variety so if one doesn't work, you can try another. Also, if the puppy class is run by a good trainer, ask for some ideas and tips.

    One last thing. Try re-acclimating (reconditioning) your pup to the harness at a time that you don't need to use it. Lots of yummy, high value treats and a clicker or your marker word. Whenever she nears it, click/treat. Nose in? click treat. Foot in loop (or head in loop) jackpot! After she starts moving towards it on her, own, up the criteria for her putting her head/feet in and holding it while you touch the harness, etc. I started doing that for my pup but stopped once we got the collar. I need to work on it, though, since we still kind of need it. Ugh. So much to do! XD
    Post edited by Anjyil at 2017-09-02 22:36:34
  • After our rough day yesterday, we had a great day today. Zero biting, and lots of bonding. I kept her leash attached to my belt loop to give lots of commands and treats while I did my housework.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    That's great! Keep it up ^_^ There will be lots of ups and downs until you guys get familiar with each other :)
  • @ColtyHan

    Glad to hear today was better!

    I can offer some advice on frustrating times, they definitely come. My partner was very quick to get absolutely frustrated with pascal when he was trying to train him, for a long while I was pretty level headed until it came to the dreaded midnight zoomies!

    I step back, remove myself from the situation and breathe, I try and think that this is just a phase and he is too young to know any better. Reminding myself that he is only 4-5-6 months old and this is the first he has experienced the world helps. He doesn’t know, he’s just as lost and confused as you are. That helped me come back calmer and more insistent than before. They are such a stubborn breed of dog, you must be more stubborn than they are, gentle, firm and a friendly leader.
    I think all shiba go through a phase of hating their harness, Pascal when he was younger also got into the phase of screaming when it was time to put the harness on. He would dart away, avoid, not come near us if the harness was nearby. It was so frustrating to get him back in and the harness on, he would then look at us as if we had committed a great sin against him for a few minutes. After that he was happy, fine with it being on, sleeping and running around and jumping.

    Like @Anjyil mentioned above, reconditioning helped us immensely. If he was simply wearing the harness he would be treated periodically. We introduced a command procedure to putting on his harness which also helped the issue. He was to come and sit and be treated. He was then told to “wait” and his harness was put on. He was treated every time he stayed still in “wait”. Eventually he lifts his paw up to help me put it on and enjoys his harness and gets excited about seeing it.

    Depending on how young your pup is, the sound of the harness may be scaring them, Pascal was not a fan of the clicking when his harness was being clipped up, we conditioned him to not react to the sound and he is a dream put his harness on now.

    I am sure you will be relieved by reading this. It is a phase, they will outgrow it, they will become more confident and aware of what is happening. The frustrating times will end, they may return but they will not be as intense as they are when the puppy is young. We have all been in your shoes, I am glad to hear that there has been improvement and wish you all the best!
  • Thanks for the encouragement. I should have updated this thread. We got a different harness for Zoomie and she lets me put it on without any type of struggle. Surprisingly its one that goes over her head first.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    @ColtyHan Glad to hear you found a harness he likes. Kind of the same thing with us---we got a limited slip comfortflex collar that goes over the head, and he had no trouble with it. He seems to hate the step in harnesses (come to think of it, our first harness for him was also over-head and he had no trouble with it, either)

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