Ever have "off" days in training? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Ever have "off" days in training?

I know most of you are such seasoned handlers that it might be hard for you to answer this, but do you ever have "off" days when you're training your dog? I'm still so new to all this that 1) I have some "off" days/moments, and 2) I'm not entirely sure what to do always.

Right now my pup is with his trainer until the spring. I work with him a few times a week. Today, for example, was not a great day because something my pup has been doing really well for about a month he just decided not to do today. My trainer ultimately got the desired behavior, but while I was observing I was thinking, "If this happened and I were home alone, I don't think I'd know the right thing to do."

My pup and I are still pretty green (me more so than he). Is there a point in training that things just become second nature or are there always going to be days when he just doesn't want to do what he doesn't want to do?

Again, those of you who've been doing this forever probably don't experience this at all, but maybe there's someone who knows what I mean? Thanks so much.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 03:29 PM
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Re: Ever have "off" days in training?

Yep. All my "off days" have to do with ME. Very embarrassing, and unfair to my dog. I wish I could control my emotions better, wish that I could maintaion a calm focused energy and just work my dog without anxiety nor frustration creeping in and effecting my responses. Yes, my dog is a teenager right now, and definitely in "The Butthead stage" ... but he has a good heart and mind, and honestly-- I myself am usually the weak link on an "off" day.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 03:39 PM
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Re: Ever have "off" days in training?

Who doesnt? Nobodys perfect and some days
you just dont get enough sleep, or just are in a bad mood.
Maybe your hair wont go how you want it to, your breakfast
sucks or a whole buch of small things make you upset.
Everyone has bad days. Just as long as it doent happen
every day its fine!!!

"I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell"

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 04:13 PM
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Re: Ever have "off" days in training?

I think everyone and every dog experiences off moments and days.


Those are the times where your patience (and enjoyment) get tested. It's going to happen from time to time. Try to go back to an exercise that he will complete successfully -it does not matter how simply it is. And then stop and take a break-even if it's for the rest of the session. It will not do you or more importantly your dog any good if you try to get through a session if frustration/negative emotions is showing through.

I've had them with both Kayla and Lancer. Even had classes where you would think all the dogs got together and decided "today is the day we drive all our humans crazy!" It happens. Several times we took a short break and there have been a few where I just ended their time in a particular class and we went off and did something else.

Keep your focus on the fact that your puppy has handled the exercises great previously, and know he will get there.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ever have "off" days in training?

Thanks so much for the quick and supportive responses. No doubt I'm almost always the "weak link" when things don't go as I think they ought to, but today I'm pretty sure it wasn't me. He just refused to do something he's done probably 100 times. I thought, "Uh oh! Does this mean we're regressing? Is it an 'off' day? What does this mean?!" I'm not skilled and experienced enough yet to have any perspective about all this. He's almost 3 years old. Is that still considered the "butt head" stage, Patti?

I suppose my deep fear is that he and I aren't going to "click" and be partners as I'd like us to be. Right now I'm sure he thinks I'm a pretty cool person with snacks, but I don't know that he sees me as much more. Sheesh, I feel like I'm talking about a romantic relationship now that I think of it!! I'm thinking, "What if he doesn't find me interesting? What if he likes someone else better?!" I think I need to call it a day!

Thanks again for your replies.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 04:55 PM
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Re: Ever have "off" days in training?

All the time. Right now I have more off days than on due to health and weather. But when I have good moments I do try to make the most of them and in between we do fetching with basic obedience. I never like to train when I am not 100% because that does travel down the leash and eventually no one is a happy camper.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2008, 12:51 PM
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Re: Ever have "off" days in training?

Of course and anyone who ever tells you differently is not being truthful.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2008, 01:16 PM
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Re: Ever have "off" days in training?

Hopefully, you'll be a TEAM-- but never "partners." You'll be the one leading the dance, because someone has to!

I am sure him not responding to a known command was had a simple explaination.
We all have off days. When our dog doesn't do what we want, it is often because one of the following:

1. They are distracted, and you didn't work them anound enough distractions while insisting that they follow through with obeying under distractions. (to a dog, lots of things--including powerful new scents!-- can be distractions that you must proof/work him around)
2. The dog doesn't understand because you said the command with a different inflection/intonation, or your bodylanguage at that moment gave conflicting signals.
3.The dog may be testing to see if you are serious about your leadership.

We all have off days. He still loves you.

Patti
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Grimm van den Heuvel, aka "The Doofinator"
My strong-minded, very loving boy
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2008, 01:52 PM
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Re: Ever have "off" days in training?

Lucy,

You will eventually achieve an unbreakable bond with Remo, and once you do, you will know, and things will be so much more clear, to both of you

Be positive and strong, they really do sit there and try to figure you out, and they will see weakness, and you aren't a weak individual.

Have a nice strong body language to communicate with, be patient, end in positive notes, and don't let him frustrate you.

You will be fine, get a nice schedule and system that will work for both of you.

Good luck

~JACK~

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2008, 01:55 PM
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Re: Ever have "off" days in training?

Yes, I do have off days and I hate myself for my sometimes short temper and irritabilty....... working on it though! I try to be objective and not train on those days because I don't think it is fair to my dogs, especially the young one (22 months). We just go for a long walk and leave the training for another time......

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