I went to my first Rover Class tonight. Reactive Rover that is.
Stella can be very vocal and react to whatever is in front of her. The two of us have been working on that. Everyone needs an outlet... So in exchange for her learning to control her reactions, she gets to talk about the power of positive mindset and change in her own words...
"Mom thinks I overreact to normal situations so I’m learning how to stay calm when I get triggered and that there’s a much easier way!
Yep, I'm learning that life is easier when you don’t react immediately.
And my tummy is full too – so many treats when I make the right choices! I guess all of life is that way 😊
But I’m getting ahead of myself...
Tonight, I learned all about triggers. Triggers are like Tigger’s. You know... Tigger from Winnie the Poo. Triggers are anything that seem big and scary… but in reality, really aren’t so bad after all.
There’s plenty of things to be legitimately scared of out there, and that’s a good thing. But somewhere along the way I developed a learned behavior of reacting – I see something as scary when it’s really not. Just like Tigger! I react to those other dogs I see in the park and in the elevator. Oh... loud noises really get a reaction outta me.
Well how in the world do I fix THAT? I mean it’s almost like it happened without me knowing it, how do I figure out how to Release... Retrain... Repeat...?
I know I want a different reaction. My mom sure wants a different reaction. And she is so smart, she knew that everyone needs extra teachers in their life every now and then.
Well, tonight my trainers helped me find out that good things can happen in the midst of a trigger!
If I can focus on something else, something really great, when a “scary monster” is in my midst, it distracts my habitual reaction.
Wow – and then I get a treat – and Gosh – that wasn’t so bad after all!
Tonight, they used a big fluffy bear that sang (how odd) and scary. But instead of reacting, my mom quickly got my attention and gave me a treat as we walked away.
Maybe tomorrow at the park I’ll just walk away. Yeah, if something scares me in the park, maybe I’ll decide to walk away. That would be very brave of me… and in control.
Control. I think I like that word!"
This is Stella when we arrived at class. She is focused on getting her first treat. This is the Stella I'm used to seeing.
At the end of class, Stella is waiting for another treat. However, I noticed she seemed so much happier and so much more relaxed. When she learned to let go of the control and not immediately react she was able to relax and allow herself to be happy.