How to End Each Dog Training Session
Ending a training session correctly is what I consider to be the most important aspect of the entire training process. Every session must end on a positive note. Your dog must feel good about what they have done, and also feel that you are pleased with them for it. Without these feelings, each succeeding session will bring less enthusiasm from your dog, and less attractive results.
As mentioned before dogs pick up on your emotions. As you spend more time training, and more time with your dog, the emotional attachment becomes stronger. It is extremely important to let your dog know that you are pleased with them.
Everyone has a bad training session once in a while. Let’s take an example: You are trying to refresh or brush-up on an exercise your dog has already learned. No matter how hard you try, your dog continues to make mistakes. Your frustrated, a little upset, and on top of that, becoming tired. If you should find yourself in this position, and find that everything you do brings forth poor results, stop. Don’t continue to pound on the problem, thinking you can resolve it. Your dog knows you’re upset, can’t understand why, can’t get past the confusion, so can’t perform as you would like, further emotionalizing you.
Take a short break. Just a few minutes. Relax and calm down. Now take your dog on a short exercise that is a sure bet to be done fairly well. Keep it simple and easy. Heeling is usually the best. Do a couple of short starts and stops. Praise your dog and reward. Take a walk and relax some more. Do not train any more that day. Above all, do not show your anxiety, frustration, or any other emotion that would outwardly tell your dog you are displeased with the previous poor results. Forget them completely. As far as you are concerned, they never happened. To dwell on them, invites disaster.
Tomorrow, or the day after, start anew. Start once again with an easy exercise, and build that confidence back up, not only in your dog, but in you as well. Use a different training place than the one you used with the poor results, if possible.
Now let’s take a moment, and look back at the original problem. There was something that triggered the poor results during that training session. It is incumbent upon you to ascertain the reason. Why? You certainly do not want them to happen again, if you can at all help it. Every time you go out to train, you should take stock in the surrounding conditions. Look around the area you are about to train in. Be aware of people, animals,
lighting, shadows, things that are moving in the wind, sprinklers, wet grass, construction noises, airplanes, etc. Your dog could react to any one of the these things in an adverse
way, given the right conditions. These are the conditions you should be looking for, and taking note of. If you have checked the training area thoroughly, it will be easier for you to find the reason for the poor result session.
It will be easier, if the cause of the problem was from one of those outside stimuli. Another consideration, it might be you. See the chapter concerning People Mood Swings for
more on this.