I have been re-re-reading Leslie McDevitt’s CONTROL UNLEASHED: The Puppy Program. And every time I do it, I find new things to digest. I manage to put a lot of pressure on my dog wanting to trial him in obedience and tracking, and he is very sensitive to any kind of pressure. Two points from the book are like written for us:
“Whatever emotion any animal (including you) is feeling at the time he is learning something, will affect the learning process.” When I got my dog, I got frustrated in teaching him a down, and that baggage travels with us even today. Whenever I feel frustrated or tense, my dog just freezes when I ask him to do a down. I always need to take a deep breath and disengage, play with him a little to relax both of us, and then try again while being really happy.
“The trial environment is a big energy suck for them; they are constantly taking it all in at once with no filter and no break. There is just not much energy left to give the performance for which their handler was hoping for.” Isn’t this ever just like us!!! I have all these expectations for my dog to perform in the midst of overwhelming stimuli, how could he? We have a Rally trial coming up in a about a week, I do realize we haven’t done enough training for him to be able to cope with that environment. We will take the trial as an opportunity to play CU games. My goal will be to have a comfortable dog, not to get qualified scores.