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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

Dear New Dog Owner Who is Struggling

Oh goodness, my heart is with you.


I’m sure you prepared the best you could, with bowls, food, treats, toys, and more.


I bet you even researched the best ways to integrate your dog into your life.


My dog, Egon, after he jumped out of the car window into the street

And yet, here you are having a hard time.


Everyone else seems to adore their dogs and rave about how much they have positively changed their lives.


It’s ok that is not you.


And, you’re not alone.


There are many, many people who struggle with their new dogs. They just don’t brag about it.


I had a VERY hard time, so hard that I wrote essays about it: I Have a Therapy Dog, Sort Of and Struggling With a New Dog When You’re Autistic.


I still have periods where it is challenging.


When you are struggling with a new dog, it’s especially challenging because there is SO MUCH dog training information out there - and it all seems to contradict each other.


It can be hard to know what strategy or approach to use with your dog.


What I hope you know most of all is that it’s ok for you to feel the way you do.


It feels hard because it is hard.


It’s hard to bring an unknown creature into your daily life and find they have behaviors or ways of being that grate against your own.


It’s hard to navigate incessant barking, protective behavior, dog aggression, social anxiety, or whatever challenges your dog might have.


It’s challenging to integrate them into your daily routine in a way that works for both them AND you.


It’s difficult to select what kind of training and strategies to use.


My friend recently told me about a dog her mom adopted. She said it was a nightmare.


You know what, it made me feel better. I was relieved to hear a story that wasn’t all roses and sunshine.


And so, here I am writing this letter to you. To let you know you’re not alone.


While it does get better with time and training, you’re still dealing with the difficult present.


My heart is with you.


With Love,

Jackie

 

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