It Is Vital To Always Have Your Attention Focused
Sometimes we are so set in our ways that when obstacles present themselves, we have a hard time adjusting our plans. But in order to get the most out of our training, we really need to be paying attention to our pups.
Keep It Entertaining
Just like people, dogs can get bored easily. And if your dog is bored with your training, you need to look to find a way to spice it up a little. Most of the time this happens when the skill that you’re working is one they don’t need much work on. If you keep doing the same foundation drill like hold work, when the dog is ready for water marks, he will quickly get bored with it and his energy and drive may suffer.
It is important to practice and review the basics skills, but you don’t want to spend too much time on it. You want to keep your dog excited and fired up for training. Read your dog and assess their mentality, and adjust your training as needed.
Going Too Fast
On the flip side, sometimes we think the dog is further along than they really are. We have been working the dog in the yard and the doubles are looking sharp, it appears that he is almost ready for the hunt. But when we take him to the field, where the grass is taller and there is an abundance of deer and rabbit scent, he will probably go wild if he has not been here before.
If you have brought him to the field for work with no lead rope, expecting him to be as calm as he has been in the yard, you may be in for a big surprise!
He very likely will remain steady, but when you send him after that first mark, expect him to go crazy with excitement, running all around while taking it all in.
A good way to combat this is when you make the transition to new territory, put the check cord on him so that you can keep him under control for the first couple of marks. This will remind him of how he is supposed to act. If he shows that he knows how to behave, take the rope off. If he then starts to go wild, put the rope right back on him to reinforce the proper behavior.
This last one is a little bit different. Sometimes dogs have certain needs that they need to take care of that will take priority over your training plans.
I have a dog right now, Rhett, that falls under this category. The first time I went out to train him, I put the lead rope on him and started walking him at heel. He did good for about 30 seconds, then, all of a sudden he started jerking at the rope and shaking like crazy. I fought it for a minute before I then gave in and let him go.
He immediately ran about 15 yards away and squatted to pee, and pee he did! It seemed to last for over a minute, like he had not gone in over a day. As soon as he was done, he went a few yards away and started going #2, dropping a land mine the size of his head!
Once he finished though, he came straight back to me to resume training. At that point, we went back to work and got in a full session with no issues.
I assumed that was a one time occurance, but the next day, the exact same issue happened. Less than a minute into training, and he gave his all to break free from me. After he succeeded, he did relieved himself in both ways before returning to me to have a great training.
You would think that by the third day I would have learned from him, but I can still be blinded to the signs at times. But after day three of the same exact behavior, I learned from him. This was his routine – his personal needs before going to work. Like me needing my morning coffee before I get going, he needed to take care of his business before going to work!
So on the fourth day, I was prepared and took him directly from the kennel to go have his personal time before we got to work. And like clockwork, that is what he needed. I have found that it does not matter what time I work him – before the sun comes up, mid-afternoon, or in the evening, he always has to have this routine.
If I go out there expecting to get him and go straight to work, I better rethink my plans. No matter how much I am wanting to get going, if I don’t give him the time he needs, training simply won’t happen.
Keep A Close Watch
Even though dogs can’t talk to us, they can tell us a lot with their body language and behavior. It is up to us to watch and “listen” to what they are telling us, and respond accordingly. If we do, we will get more out of our dogs and our training sessions will be more productive.