"My dog barks nonstop when ________"
"My dog was disqualified from the competition because _______"
"My dog steals food from the kitchen counter"
"My dog jumps on guests"
"My dog growls when ______"
"My dog tries to bite the mailman"
"My dog fence fights with the neighbor's dog"
If your dog behaves in an undesired way, are these undesired behaviors repeated often? Every day? Every week?
And ESPECIALLY, are these undesired behaviors on an escalating trend... in a BAD way? Meaning, are they continually getting worse??
We need to arrive like a fire truck, at the scene of a fire, and change what's happening... NOW.
We aren't progressing on the right path. Our ship is headed in the wrong direction. We need to get this ship turned around.
Don't put a dog in a circumstance where you can PREDICT that the dog will do undesired behaviors. Only put a dog in a circumstance where the dog doesn't have the opportunity to do the undesired behavior (OR) ideally, with training help, you could prevent the dog from doing the undesired behavior.
This also applies to SPORT dogs! Agility, Obedience, Rally, Tracking, etc... Is the same mistake continually being made?!
By allowing mistakes, undesired dynamics, or experiences to REPEAT... you are repeating FAILURE.
In these situations, the dog's energy levels and emotions may run high, poor choices are made, and an inability to succeed is apparent.
We cannot continually repeat FAILURE, yet somehow stumble into overwhelming SUCCESS. You may have heard these quotes:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~ Albert Einstein “Success is a few good habits repeated every day. Failure is a few bad decisions repeated every day” ~ Jim Rohn
If I recognize and experience some FAILURE, I jump WAY BACK in challenge level. I don't want to work myself backwards one failure at a time, or else I'm dragging the EMOTIONS of failure back with me. I JUMP WAY BACK to a point before the *breakdown* even begins to occur. I go back to a challenge level that is OBVIOUSLY EASY for the dog.
I'll move forward again with smaller steps...
I'll plan out BABY steps...
Granted, I might not need ALL of the steps that I brainstorm, once I move forward for the second time, but I should be able to brainstorm more steps so that I just don't REPEAT the SAME failing process.
Once I begin working forward for the second time (and now that I know that the dog has the potential to FAIL) I'll be more aware of small bits of behavior, and I'll be more aware of stimuli that become challenging for the dog.
I'll give MORE help (or) I'll REDUCE the challenge AGAIN (find even MORE baby steps).
If I want to move forward with my training, there needs to be some productive potential.
It's better to go BACK in the training process and proceed again, with SUCCESSFUL BABY STEPS, than to PLATEAU and struggle and NEVER REACH THE GOAL.
When your dog experiences failure:
Don't revert to old, unsuccessful methods or habits due to frustration.
Stop doing what you're doing with the dog. Don't repeat failure.
Jump WAY BACK in challenge level.
Brainstorm smaller steps.
Proceed forward again.
Be very aware of changes in behavior and challenge stimuli in the environment.
Give the dog as much help as the dog needs to succeed. 🙂
Thanks to Mark McCabe, I really understand the importance of incremental steps and overwhelming success!
All for now,
Kate Walker P.S. If you're looking for new, successful dog training methods to develop your dog's skills and capabilities to cope with stress, manage emotions, and regulate energy (relax!), then I invite you to watch my free online dog training class!