Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I have to confess I got really mad and frustrated with both Wyatt and Patriot this morning.

I was thinking that I should start doing daily novice obedience run throughs (weaning off treats) as we have some trials coming up in March and April. We have been focusing more on open and utility skills as well as going back to basics in heeling. Wyatt did well with the all the novice exercises until the last one - the long down. He kept getting up. So I keep telling him in a firmer and firmer voice to down and stay. Well, he finally realized he was dealing with a maniac and ran upstairs. Smart dog!

Patriot was lagging in heeling and I got into some leash tugging. Of course, that make him lag even more.

I did bring them both back down after I cooled off and did much shorter and successful sits and downs together.

I don't get mad at the dogs often so always surprises me. I think it happens the most when I believe they know something really well and they aren't doing it. But my frustration is probably bleeding in from other areas of my life.

The most likely the reason for Wyatt's trouble is that I have been working on utility signals and doing fast sequences of stand, down, and sit commands in different combinations. So he was likely anticipating commands.

Luckily dogs love us so much and seem to let go of a lot of our nonsense. Still, makes you feel terrible when you mess up and get mad and frustrated. I need to remember to quit or back up when I get frustrated and look at why MY training is not working.


Stephanie from WW said...

One thing to try is to train sits and downs with a helper and have the helper go back and put him in position if he gets up. Otherwise, he learns that breaking position is a sure-fire way to get you to come back to him! Many dogs (most often, insecure ones) will then keep getting up to bring the owner back.

Lisa DiBattista said...

I can understand your frustration. I had Caper in class last week and got very frustrated as she got up 2-3 times on the long down. Towards the end of the exercise I could hear the frustration in my voice and had to take a step back and realize I haven't worked very much on the down stay with her so it was unrealistic for me to expect her to do a whole 3 minutes.

I think what is really important is that we recognize and acknowledge when we get frustrated as it makes it easier to take a deep breath and instil more patients the next time. : )

I love these blogs!

Lisa DiBattista
and Caper

John Heffernan said...

That's a good point, Stephanie!

Glad I am not the only one, Lisa!