YOU KNOW HOW YOU FEEL WHEN YOU ARE UNDER PRESSURE AND FEEL YOU ARE BEING TESTED? LEARNING AND PERFORMING WHEN ON THE SPOT ISN’T EASY.
Most of the time you actually do not perform at the same level as when you are laughing and relaxed. That is true for our learning dogs as well, especially those who have a history of being nagged during teaching or where the handler might get frustrated at times because they want to get a point across quickly. Learning the “BASIC COMMANDS” as if they were religious dogma.
we humans seem to project the urgency of our needs into the way we interact, teach and explain.
I have always loved teaching the dogs “tricks” right from the beginning. It’s fun, right? But why is that? It’s because there is no pressure involved. If the puppy doesn’t learn to give paw, it’s not a life and death thing. But oddly the puppy often learns those skills with greater ease than the “basic” skills.
I was made particularly aware of that when a dear client of mine had terrific success teaching her puppy a rather advanced and captured “trick”. She said that she felt the difference in her pup’s response and that he enjoyed the “fancy work” so much more than the “necessary manners stuff”. It is a wonderful example of how we humans seem to project the urgency of our needs into the way we interact, teach and explain.
If we want our pups to gladly respond immediately with teaching, why not make everything fun?
The motivation for good behavior could be as enticing as the invitation to engage in a great opportunity for fun and reward. Our dogs are not soldiers who have to obey, they are not underlings or in the most extreme cases, slaves. They are our cherished friends who want to engage in a mutually beneficial and loving relationship.