Why do some dogs challenge us?

Hand on my heart, there is not a single dog that has made me want to rip my hair out more than Vixen. Here is the catch, she is my favourite and best dog to train. She is capable of the most amazing things, and regularly achieves them, but for some reason, when we can’t get it, I am triggered, hard. It begs the question:


Why do some dogs challenge us more than others?


Vixen was definitely the dog I got when I ‘knew better’. You know, when you learnt so much from the previous dogs and you tell yourself, this dog will be ‘perfect’. When you have that mentality, the expectation on yourself is so real and even more so on the dog.

Pressure impacts how a dog affects us.

I think a lot of the pressure comes from being a trainer. You really are on show, whether you post your work or not. I believe as a trainer, it is important to be walking proof that you know your stuff, especially when you are assisting others will similar challenges. However, this mentality often results in the thinking that you and your dog can’t make mistakes, and the reality is, is that that isn’t how dog training really works.

They aren’t robots and neither are you.

A lot of my challenges with Vixen come when she is just being her, in her most true state. Her crazy Border Collie self that is sensitive, alert, and noticing novelty. It is in those moments I have a “Why NOW” thought. Realistically, she is just being who she is and really, it comes with the breed and particularly her lines and depending on the day, the mood we are both in, will determine how resilient we both are. But this is dog training, right? This moment, where you reflect and think “how can I do it better?”, is the moment that is what makes us dog trainers and what makes us better. And because of this, we both can’t be robots, because then we would never learn anything.

She makes me better.

Hand on my heart, there is not a single dog that has taught me more about myself than Vixen. Challenging dogs are the ones that push us to our limits and prepare us for ‘the next dog’. They keep us learning and getting better.

I can honestly say that this dog, has shaped my business, my passions and my thoughts on training dogs. And for this, I am grateful.