Show me a human with a bad attitude or short fuse while training, and I’ll show you a dog that would prefer a different handler.
Attitude is essential in all facets of life. If you go into a dog training session with a bad attitude, you won’t get good results. In fact, I’d venture that a poor attitude = poor results. The dog deserves for you to be at your best, not to be an outlet for you to take your bad attitude out on.
Now, we all have days that we aren’t the happiest people and patience is at an all-time low. As an adult who has decided to train a dog, it’s up to you to recognize these days. Skipping a day of training because you’re in a rotten mood won’t break the training bank and may actually be of benefit.
Why is this trainer telling you to possibly skip a day of training? Because a dog that has repeated bad experiences training with a human with a bad attitude could break the proverbial training bank mentioned above.
If you’re having an off day, the likelihood of you being on point with training is not good. You are at risk of getting frustrated and angry – two emotions that have no place in animal training and certainly don’t set the scene for patience.
There will be days that you just aren’t into it. Maybe you had a bad night’s sleep, are physically ill or in pain, or just received some off-putting news. The reason doesn’t matter - nobody can be on 100% of the time. If you’re having a day like this, take the pressure off and do something else with the dog.
Perhaps you’ll give the dog a Kong or food puzzle for some enrichment, a long-lasting chew like a Bully Stick, play a simple game of fetch or hide and seek, or let the dog explore while out for a walk without trying to have total control. There is nothing wrong with taking a day off and letting a dog be a dog so long as they aren’t a maniac rehearsing bad behavior.
This trainer is telling you to take a day off from training if you aren’t in the right frame of mind with a good attitude, your dog would tell you the same if they could.
©Kate Godfrey, 2019