Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wyatt Stress Part 2

A lot of people provided suggestions for dealing with Wyatt's stress.  Thank you.  I have been thinking about it and reflecting on the 7 years I have had training this dog, all of it wonderful and a great learning experience.  Here's a list of things that I could do:

1)  Try to increase motivation.  The issue I have with this is that he is very motivated already.  But people generally think that if you can increase motivation even more, that will help when they get to the trial setting.  In class last week, I did see one technique that could help with freeze on the drop on recall problem, which is to have a helper hold the dog while you run away from the dog.  You also run away when the dog is coming to you.  Wyatt shot out of the stay like a cannon.  I am working on some variations of this for solo training.

2)  My wife has some meds she uses for public speaking that help with anxiety.  I may try this so Wyatt goes not pick up on my jitters.  I can also try peppermint and not allowing him to lick my face before going on, which is something he tends to do.  I wonder if there is an equivalent for dogs too.  I could also use my iPod before our run and not watch other people. 

3)  Try to fine tune Wyatt's routine to reduce his stress.  Some ideas here are:  trialing in the only the best, most familiar places, trying to trial more and do rally too (this will be hard with my schedule constraints.)  Trying to fine tune our warm up routine to reduce stress.  Go to as many matches as possible.  There aren't very many in New England but...

So, basically, there are 3 areas to work on:  increase motivation, decrease my stress, decrease Wyatt's stress. 

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