Are you in my corner? When the stakes are high, I need to know!

Working at the vet's office really allows me to see a lot of dogs in their worst mental space. All of their issues really surface when they are on the table or in the kennel (anxiety, insecurity, fearfulness, pushiness, aggressive behavior). Unfortunately, we've got a job to do, and respecting space is not always possible, since we have to get hands on to solve a problem or leash a dog up. I do my best to be as respectful and understanding of a dog's insecurities during these times, but the truth is we've only got a limited amount of time. Building your dog's trust with the vet is huge, and probably one of the biggest challenges you will face if your dog struggles in these circumstances. 

That said, your dog's relationship (or lack there of) with family members, neighbors, and strangers, should not be anywhere near as stressful (or forced!), so you shouldn't be seeing the extreme behaviors we see at the office. There is no reason anyone should be forcing themselves on your pet, and if they are, they (and you!) really need to reconsider what that is doing for their relationship. Work diligently on being a leader your dog can trust and follow, advocating for your dog, set rules and boundaries (a lot of those nasty insecurities are coming from spoiled dogs who don't know how to handle themselves in a situation they don't agree with, because no one teaches them to do anything that THEY don't start themselves!) and creating a calm and comfortable state of mind for them. While joy and love are a part of life, so are stress and challenges. Life can be stressful at times, and it's important you and your dog understand it, and know what to do when those times happen. Setting rules, boundaries, and giving structure to your dog in your home on a daily basis has them look to you and understand to follow your lead, not always their own. THEN when life presents something stressful, that aggravates, scares the stew out of, or over excites you dog, your dog will have a job to do, and so will you--advocating for your dog and making sure your dog is working on themselves as well.