When you're emotionally less available
Just needing some input here. Has anyone been through a very hard time, maybe caring for an elderly parent as a caregiver, dealing with a child's serious illness, had a job loss, or grieving a death or loss of your own health... then felt badly about being less emotionally available to your dog? What happened when you went back to working with/training your dog, if he or she was young? Did you feel you lost ground in training, or that the dog developed issues due to the training sabbatical, or due to your being less attentive due to your extreme stress?
My hubby got critically ill at the beginning of March, was in ICU all of March, and passed away at the end of that month. Since then, I have been in deep, acute grief over his death. Slowly, I am starting to come out of the fog of pain. I still hurt, but am more aware. Grimm has been so patient.
I want to be ready and able to do something (training) with him. Yes, he gets groomed, fed, walked 4 times a day, and I am now able to cuddle him more, too. But, training...... he deserves me to be engaged, taking him into the village and proofing him as best I can around distractions (he is still a very young dog), and I haven't yet got the energy, mental clarity, or ability physically, emotionally, or mentally to manage that yet. He deserves it. I am sad that I am taking so long to be ready to work with him again.
I want to be ready to fill my pockets with treats, clicker, toy, and go into the market square and work on long down-stays. Then go walk over a bridge and do sits and downs. Then by kids, ducks on a pond, and walk him along a busy sidewalk. He deserves it. It is fun for BOTH of us. He needs exposure. I am frustrated at my weakness and delay in being truly ready to work with him again. (Grimm is the size of an SUV, has reactivity issues, is unbelievably powerful, requires very strong leadership, I need to be in top form before going to town with him)
What happened when you had a hiatus from being able to train a young dog with proofing around distractions? Grimm is emotionally there for me. I am more and more cuddling with him.. just not ready for the clear thinking and reactions I need to work him anywhere yet. I haven't even got what it takes to work him in the livingroom yet. Everything makes me tired still.
What happened in your situation? How was it going back to training again? Did the dog, if young, lose a lot of ground? Thanks for any input on this.
Grimm van den Heuvel, aka "The Doofinator"
My strong-minded, very loving boy