In my job, I train many of the very same actual commands to new dogs every day, and it never, ever gets old for me! And do you know why? At times I have wondered why I never get tired of training, Sit, Stay, Down, Come, Heel, Place, Stand, etc. over and over and over! A big part of it is because each dog and owner that I work with is completely unique, and no one learns the same way, dog or human, so my job is always new, and it’s always a different experience.
One thing that really serves me well in training dogs, is that I have learned to adjust a training style or the environment, or bait, etc. in order to get a dog to comply with what I’m asking him to do. I give my favorite training style the good old college try, and if the dog just can’t figure out what I want from him, I quickly adjust things at my end so that I can have success with that dog.
This is where experience helps, because I know what to look for, and when I don’t see what I need to see in a reasonable length of time, I know that I need to adjust a thing or two, so that a dog can figure out what I’m asking him to do for me. Sometimes, I am simply moving too quickly for a dog, and I need to slow down and cut my steps into smaller, more manageable steps so that he can come along with me.
I look for patterns of behavior from the dog when I’m training. I’m always watching his body language in response to me. That tells me if he’s anxious about what we’re doing, so I can know to slow down or ease off that command for a bit. If I’m working on Sit/Stay for example, and I take five steps away from the dog, if he consistently gets up on my step three, that tells me that he’s probably uncomfortable with me getting too far away from him, so I start again, and I only go three steps for a few repetitions so that I can boost my dog’s confidence before I take those extra steps.
If I carefully watch what I’m doing, and watch my dog’s response to me….and then adjust what I’m doing accordingly, I will give my dog time to figure out what I want, and give him confidence to learn from me all at the same time. It’s a definite win!
One fing I doesn’t understand about Uprights is that usually, if a dogger doesn’t figure out what they want him to do, they blame him and fuss at him, and sumtimes they say that their dogger is dumb, or stubborn, and mean fings like that. And then sumtimes, Uprights just get cross wif their doggers, and when that happens to me, it makes me just want to shut down and not try anymore.
Lil doggers really try hard to figure stuff out. This is what I has hadda teach the Mama: to see the heart of a dogger, and to understand and know how hard we work, even if we don’t make lotsa progress in one training session. I’m still working hard, even if I’m not getting as far as the Mama wants. It’s been a whole lotta work, but I fink she gots it now, so she gots lots more patience and she stays a lot less anxious herself!
And I has teached her to really watch for patterns from a dogger, so that she can change fings. If Uprights keeps doing the same fing over and over, their doggers will keep doing the same fings over and over too….so if Uprights wanna see sumping different from their doggers, they gotsa adjust what they is doing what will help their doggers know to try sumping different too!
And really, the Mama makes lil bitty adjustments….like where she holds her bait, what bait she’s using, where she trains me, and that kinda stuff. Sumtimes I feel more secure if I’m next to a wall, instead of out in the open, and that kinda stuff. Scared doggers needs a softer touch, more patience and lotsa security for them to relax enuff to learn.
When doggers is scared, all they can fink of is saving theirselfs, so they can’t learn new stuff at the same time. The Mama has learned to really make sure I’m not scared when she’s trying to teach me new fings. She just gets me comfortable first, and really, that makes all the difference.
I has teached the Mama how to really know what I am saying by my body language, so she gets me, and she knows when I’m ready to move forward or when she gotsa slow down and give me time and space to process and figure fings out. This is where we really has worked togedder to become a team. I has teached her fings, and she has teached me fings, and we get how each udder works, so we can trust each udder and make progress forward.