The most common problem that show up during training seem to be:
Choices and misguided expectations!
We expect the dog, today’s exercise, those we train with,, the surrounding, our trainer or what ever to behave or react in a certain way, and they don’t! The frustration when our expectations failure is probably our biggest problem 😅 and if we chose to see this as a problem or a result of our preparations, that is a choice, our choice...
But it is also the easiest to resolve! Think back, what were my expectations? Were they realistic? Is this what I have prepared my dog for? Have anything in the chain of events changed? Were my expectations too high compared to our earlier results?
Very few of us perform better under pressure than we do when we are relaxed. So a dog coming back to the same area for a competition for example is way more likely to succeed than a beginner. If you compete in your home ‘arena’, you should expect that the dog thinks of this as yet another exercise and not go into competition mood.
For example yesterday I had to stand in the water when sending my dog out for quite long unmarked/blind retrieving with no wind. New place, me dressed in total covering clothes and the dog sleeping when the gun goes off after a long time of new experiences and anticipation. The chance to succeed was low. But putting the dog in the boat (a small much more comfortable one than the one we’ve been training from) rowing out and letting her retrieve twice from there - that was much easier than we had prepared her for, and thus more likely to succeed. The lifting back into the boat isn’t her favourite (we are going to build a platform for her to use on the new boat) so when we went back out for a diver, she hesitated to go. But as we went out just rowing around she quickly relaxed and then got a bit bored and started hoping for a retrieve.
The choice is mine, either I see a problem in my out command or I see this as an opportunity to getting new knowledge about my way to prepare this dog this far. The dog never have problems, never have an intention to do wrong! They are, even when they are obviously obedient, trying to solve a situation with the best of their knowledge. If you usually get disappointed, angry or just moody when they behave in a certain way, well then they most likely will try to avoid you or make you behave in another way. But that’s not their problem, thats our...
Well all of us write here, both humans and dogs ;) At least that was the plan but it seems it´s mostly me Robyn who´s attached to the keyboard...