Behavior Tip: the Guilty Owner

Many dog and cat owners who seek my help say they feel guilty.  Whether they feel that they haven’t spent enough time with their pet, that they haven’t done enough training, or that they have put off seeking help for too long, pet owners are convinced that they have contributed to their pet’s behavior problem.  They realize that their pet is distressed and they are riddled with guilt.

Most dog and cat behavior problems are not created by people.  However, people can make any behavioral condition better or worse by the manner in which they interact.  Loving pet owners make mistakes, use inappropriate interventions, and fail to understand their pet’s behavior.

Blaming yourself for your pet’s behavior problem won’t help fix the problem.  Have enough compassion for yourself to realize that you always had the best intentions for your pet and your relationship with your pet.  It’s normal to feel guilty, but I encourage you to forgive yourself.  

Rather than dwelling on guilt and blame, move toward improving your pet’s distress and your relationship with your pet.  Seeking help is a powerful step toward creating a more harmonious relationship between you and your dog or cat.  You can learn new ways of interacting with your pet which will improve quality of life for both of you.  If you have been experiencing feelings of guilt, take a positive step by contacting me for help.