Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Managing your frustration while working with your dogs

Robots vs animals.

Today I was speaking to client, who has taken her dog through several classes with several different trainers, and she was consulting us for help with her dog. I asked her if I may write a post on this, as I feel it would relate to the experience many dog parents have.

She told me, she feels her dog just does not listen, "I have gone through so many classes with her, and I practice with her at home, but yet when we go on a walk or to the vets or even PetsMart, she just does not obey."

It is interesting that many dog parents have a robotic expectation for their dogs. Their dogs are not to be influenced by stress, environment, changes or disruption to routine, excitement, fear of the know (vets)... and so on.

But the bigger issue her is, how fair of a chance was this dog really given? Each trainer she spoke off, taught with a different philosophy and style, not only limiting her from practice of one method and way of communication, but the dog as well.

Second, through all of this dog's training experiences and practice, none of them actually look place outside of in the dog's home or at class. We went straight from this to application, there was no habit of generalization at all.

And last, something to consider in this equation is the frustration we poise on our dogs as a result of our false expectations as well as our own embarrassment. I have seen this happen so many times.... once at a fun dog event, where dogs were get timed for running back to their parents. A lady who participated with her dog was very disappointed and embarrassed that her dog veered off and chose to mark his leg on a tree, the shoulder dive into something that obviously smelled so appealing to the dog... and never made it to the mum. She was so embarrassed and as a result frustrated at the dog...

Bottom line is, that training is life long not just a couple courses. To be able to have a dog who is highly reliable requires many years of training, giving the dog the opportunity to do that job so well, that it becomes second nature to the dog.

It takes time, committment, consistencey and all of that on the handlers part, not the dog's!

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