Frustration is a prominent theme in dog training. Unfortunately, sometimes we cannot communicate effectively with our furry friends in the way that they need. The more we try, the more frustrating it gets, and the angrier we become. This is a dangerous situation! Patience is key in dog training. Our pets learn best through positive reinforcement with lots of love and treats – not us yelling at them!
Imagine this: You are sitting at a desk working a math problem that you’ve never seen before. That’s bad enough, right? Now imagine trying to work it with someone breathing down your neck and yelling at you when you make a mistake!
Tension. Panic. Frustration. Confusion. None of these are productive.
What you need is for someone patient to sit down with you and teach you calmly how to finish the problem. The same goes for dogs! If they don’t understand something, take a breather and step back. Simply remember that they want to do the behavior correctly, but they don’t know how. Make the training simpler, and if all else fails, stop the training and come back to it later. It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t get to finish your 10 minute long training session. Always end on a good note, not a frustrating one! You and your pooch will be much happier together. Don’t get me wrong, though. Sometimes our pups have a hard time with commands that they already know, too. The same goes for these kinds of situations. Step back, breathe, and then continue.
Take for instance the “sit” command. If you have a rambunctious puppy who gets overly excited for his snacks, he may not be able to think clearly. Often times, dogs who become extremely aroused get so worked up that they don’t even hear what you are saying. All he knows is that he desperately desires what you have in your possession. This does not mean that he is unwilling to do the commands, but it simply shows that he is struggling with self control. Sometimes you may give a command and your dog might preform a different command in desperation for his delicious, mouth-watering treats. Calmly remind him of the correct behavior that you are looking for, and then gently guide him in the right direction. If you want him to sit, take the training back a notch and show him with your hand how to do it. Do not let him fail again and again. If you can tell he’s having a hard time after the first or second command, a helping hand can go miles to make the training session much more productive and fun for both you and your friend. Enjoy the time you have with your dog; cherish every moment, and don’t let frustrations ruin your day.