Thursday, November 7, 2013

Breakdown of a bad training session: Part 1

I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect, no one is. We all make mistakes but it is what we do with those mistakes that defines us.  I recently did a training session with my new 5 month old border collie puppy "Gir" that did NOT go very well. There were highs and lows but my overall feelings of the session were full of frustration, disappointment, and exhaustion. Luckily I recorded the whole thing so I could go back through and see where I went wrong and what I could do better.

In the Part 1 video you see the very beginning of the session. There is actually no training involved (no conscious training anyways) but it is easy to see that the session was set up from the beginning to not be as successful as it could be.
Take Note:
  • Timing is everything. Trying to train at 11:00pm (an hour past Gir's bedtime!) is not a smart move. It is even less smart when he has been running around and playing with Juno for the last hour and a half. A quick session before play time (and earlier in the evening) would have been much better. 
    • Take note of when your dog seems the most enthusiastic and try to train then, you will be very pleased with the results! I find my pups are raring to go when I first get home and right before dinner time. Training FOR their dinner is even better but I feed raw and do not like handling it too much.
  • Keep your sessions short and sweet. Speaking of timing, quick sessions, no longer than 5 minutes each have proven to be much more successful in the acquiring and retention of learned behaviors. This training session dragged on for a whopping TWENTY MINUTES! Way too long for a puppy's short attention span (especially late at night!)
  • Your emotions affect your dog, control them before ever attempting to control or train your dog. In this video you can tell that the humans involved are not enthusiastic about training. Dear Sweet Husband and myself were not only tired, but just finished a mini conflict. Those two things combined had me near tears (darn those stupid female hormones!) and I was not projecting the right emotions to create a great training session.  Get it together!
  • Pay attention to what your dog is telling you with his body.   I point out some signs of stress that I was probably causing and should have noted. Honestly I was too frustrated with the day overall and was not paying attention as I should have been. This goes back to the last point about controlling your emotions first.  

As you can see this is not setting up to be a very effective training session. Stay tuned and I will be posting my breakdowns of the rest of the session.

Take away message for today:

"Start the day right and you are 
more likely to finish it right."

Same thing can be said for training sessions and any other endeavor!

Have you ever had an experience that afterward seemed doomed from the beginning but you did not realize it in the moment? Let me know and leave a comment!

Until next time,
Stay Pawsitive!


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