Are you so sure about that?
Something as simple as sit and down should be easy to teach, right? You'd think so, but Bullet and I have been having a problem with it! Oh, he knows how to sit and down, that wasn't it. It was that his responses weren't nearly as accurate as I wanted. Why? It wasn't from lack of trying on his part, he'd get it wrong so enthusiastically I had to laugh.
It was all solved in one weekend listing to Denise Fenzi from Sprite Belgians talk on obedience. What was I doing wrong? The answer was simple. The sound of my "sit" and "drop" were too similar. By making the word "sit" a higher tone and "drop" a lower tone, we're back in action.
Now why didn't I figure that out?!
When Cyder's trainer told me that she'd been 'trained' to go through people's legs, I admit, I went into defense. "I didn't 'train' Cyder to circle through people's legs! How dare she say that?" When I calmed down and I started thinking again, I realized that I did in fact train this behaviour. By doing nothing to stop it, I allowed it to develop into a quirky habit. That's part of training.
It's so much easier to blame our animals for the things that go wrong when the truth is, it's often our fault. Instead of just correcting the dog, accept the blame, figure out where things went wrong and move on. Easier said than done unfortunately. Ask yourself some questions that might help:
- Does your dog truly understand what you want?
- Do you truly understand what your goals are?
- Are you communicating clearly to your dog?
- Are you moving too fast?
- Are you allowing a bad habit to continue unchecked?
- How's your timing?
- How's your patience?
- Are you being fair to your dog?