Things are running smoothly in your multiple dog household so you let your guard down and assume you now have a cake walk. Until one day you don’t and you are at the vet’s office with one of your crew. What happened, you wonder? Everything was fine, you muse. Well, you are right and you are wrong.
Life happens. Really. Google trigger stacking and you will get several wonderful articles by several wonderful trainers who will explain the dog version of a bad day. This equals “stuff” happens. Exchange the word “stuff” with what many of us say when something goes awry and you get the picture. Nothing is continually perfect. We all fluctuate with our moods and our tolerance levels. That is a perfectly normal occurrence.
Does that mean that the multiple dog parents can never relax? Of course not, But it does mean that you have to be skilled observers. This should be second nature with a multiple dog household. Nipping a problem in the bud early on will help things to be far more fixable than waiting until that vet visit is a reality.
Several stressors in any given day can cause a shorter fuse in a dog than he or she would normally possess. This can include many things, among them not feeling 100% up to par, not getting enough exercise or mental stimulation that day, not getting something expected that day, there are just so many variables. Even atmospheric conditions make a difference such as barometric pressure, temperature, moon phases, solar flares, etc. It all adds up.
We all have scenarios that cause us to have shorter fuse than usual. Dogs are no different. Expecting our canine friends to have the same mood day in and day out is as unrealistic as assuming you will have the same mood on a daily basis.
Nothing comes out of the blue. I hear that periodically. “There was no warning”. There is ALWAYS warning. It’s usually unseen except in the parts of the mind where the conscious mind doesn’t allow it to come to a full surface thought. And then it happens. Unfortunately it usually coincides with the dog version of a bad day. The perfect storm. The straw that broke the camel’s back. Choose your phrase.
What does this all have to do with preventing chaos? Easy, pay attention on a daily basis and your perfect storm trigger stacking days will be far less of an issue than they could be. It’s all about being present in the moment. Watch your crew for questions. Watch your crew for signs of needing assistance. Watch your crew for anything that feels off. Don’t expect perfection because they are great most of the time. Life is fluid. Life is motion. To be stagnant is not something that you should aspire to. But the more in the moment that you are with your crew to prevent problems, on a regular basis, the more that you can relax in the future in the knowledge that they know you are present and there for them.
Feel free to explain your in the moment skills with your crew in the spaces below.