I was away this past weekend at a conference and I boarded Logan when I was away. Yesterday when I came home, we had a relaxing day, played a little, I let him sleep a lot. I mentioned previously that he does not cope with stress particularly well (like his Dad).
We have started a couple of new behaviours, turning left and right in circles following a target stick and standing on to a platform. The turning behaviours are still in their infancy (we have done literally hundreds of repetitions of both) and he is very slowly getting the hang of it. The platform training is even younger in it’s evolution with only a couple of sessions behind us. With this dog, I have to be incredibly careful not going too fast or expecting too much of him. I am the first to admit I don’t always succeed.
We did some platform work this afternoon, I gave him a big break and then we tried the target stick work. Not a great success. As we were doing it, I found myself becoming exasperated with him as he seemed to have regressed loads since our last session. I took a breath and a break and then took stock. I remembered the following; he had been in kennels over the weekend, he needs time to process new things, we are working on one new behaviour and then I asked him to work on a behaviour which is still in the learning stages. My internal conversation “Too much pressure on your dog, dummy, give him a break. Train the dog in front of you!” As Kay Laurence says, the best dog training tool is a cup of tea.
What I should have done; worked on something which he had loads of previous history with (I have 4 behaviours which fit this category), lots of relaxed play with no expectations, or worked on one of the new behaviours not both in the same day.
In my eagerness to move forward, stoked by the lift to my enthusiasm after the IMDT Conference at the weekend, I forgot the needs of my dog and assumed too much. I’m just glad I caught myself when I did.
So this week, it’s foot off the gas, loads of reinforcement with behaviours with long training history and a gradual increase towards the weekend.
This dog and what he’s teaching me. Deep breaths Johnny, deep breaths.