Sunday, December 12, 2010


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein :P

There's lots of times when this quote comes to mind. I can think of dozens of occasions where it even comes up in dog training.

These two scenarios are really tough for me to watch unfold. They are easily avoidable without the drama of you working yourself from frustration to anger to lashing out at your dog.

1-Repeating your cue over and over again, and expecting the dog to sit, come, leave something...whatever..the FIRST time you asked.

If you have to repeat your cue, your puppy/dog:

a/TRULY doesn't have a clear understanding of the cue or what was being asked in the first place.

b/IS emotionally or physically incapable of performing the cue. Fear or anxiety can get the best of us all and debilitate us from doing what may be otherwise a non-issue. On the flipside, if your dog is arthritic, or has another medical ailment, please consider this when asking them to do something for a stand stay for an arthritic dog may be more comfortable than a down stay.

c/HAS NOT practiced and generalized the cue in enough new situations and environments, with enough distractions so that the cue has had a long history of being rewarded PROFUSELY the very FIRST time you asked for it. Practice makes perfect!

2-Being dictatorial and expecting your puppy/dog to be obedient just "because" you said so. Not seeing results, but rather just creative thinking on your puppy/dog's part to ramp themselves up and be as unruly UNTIL the warnings turn to punishment.

That's not a fun place to be in, for either party. It's not fun having to be grumpy, and it sure doesn't help enrich your relationship with your dog/pup.

Humans and dogs LEARN so much through play!

Just think about all the social skills you learn playing sports, or joining those of like mind for hobbies. Polite social skills, work as a team, everyone doing their share so things don't fall apart...if you're honest, have a good sense of humour, respectful, benevolent, chances are you'll attract more people in a social situation than someone who is a bully, dictatorial and uses physical means to control your every move.

If you're a bully, eventually you're kicked out or ignored, until you change YOUR behaviour.

Same applies to dog training and building a relationship with your pooch. If they had a choice...which home do you think they'd be racing towards?

a/DOGS LOVE to play and have fun. Use all of your puppy/dogs FAVOURITE things in life as training opportunities.

b/MANAGING their environment so they can't make a mistake in the first place, redirect them to do something incompatible rather than what is annoying you, and take the time to teach them polite behaviours using handsignal then adding verbal cues once they understand, can predict and commit to performing a behaviour which you find appropriate for the situation.

Take the time to teach your furry pal using what they love most in life as motivators for choosing to work with you to learn polite social skills. I promise it will not only enrich your life, but it will change the way you relate to others.


Kristine said...

Agreed. It's hard to remember though at times and I do find myself repeating a command over and over again. It's a thing I need to work on for sure.

I like your new header image. :-)

Daizy, George, Taiki n Keegan said...

I just caught myself doing it yesterday with Keegan my Adolescent hence the blog post :)

I'm normally really good at timing it so something only needs to be said once, so it caught me off guard when I repeated something twice, it felt weird.

What helps me is I wait a second before I say the action cue, in that second I look for any sign that my dog has perked up and is looking to see what I'm about to say. I think that's the key. That split second check in with your dog BEFORE you ask them to do something. If you're not connected, how can they consider what you're asking of them.