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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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!!!
 

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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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Discussion Starter #5
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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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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Of course and anyone who ever tells you differently is not being truthful.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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......

_____________________________________________________

Susan

Anja GSD
Conor GSD - adopted from this Board
Blue GSD - at the Bridge
 

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Oh yeah, training goes well, then very well, then one day you think, huh what happened? Each team has their up's and down's in training, sometimes it is best to take a step back, relax and give Fido a day off


Do you take your dog with you to the trainer or does he live with the trainer? In the latter case the trainer is forming a bond with the dog not you!
 

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I've been training - and trialing in obedience and other performance events - since 1998 and I still have off days. It's natural and the proper thing for a person to do is recognize that they're having an off day and to not try to do something that is going to spark an altercation in their training.

Something else that I think is really important is to realize that our DOGS have off days, too. We get so wrapped up in making them do something that we don't always realize that there are days when they haven't slept well, or that they're upset about something, or when they don't feel great - and we expect them to perform to a certain level each and every day. Good trainers recognize those off days and they adjust accordingly. Dogs don't generally blow you off and just refuse to do something for the heck of it. If they're not responding to a predictable command/cue that they normally respond to, then there's something off and that should be taken into account.

There are times when I'll have paid my entry money and traveled hundreds of miles to a trial and I'll pull my dog because something's obviously not right. Sometimes it's pretty apparent - like when Kylee got stung by a bee and her face was swollen - and other times it's more subtle, like right after I got Trick as a pup and she peed on the floor that morning and Kylee got really upset about it. She couldn't focus and I knew she probably didn't sleep well with the new pup in the house, so I ended up pulling her from competition (we were in utility, so it was pretty intense). Yes, I lost my entry fees but what I gained in not forcing her to screw up (which is likely what would have happened) was worth far more than the $25 entry fee.

There are days when I go out in the shop to work with Tazer that I realize I'm just not up to it - and instead we play games and I throw in a bit of play training. Maybe some sits before I throw a toy, or maybe some puppy pushups (sit-down-sit-down) before I scatter cookies on the floor. Maybe I'll just walk around and reward whoever chooses to get into heel position (a game that my dogs really like and sometimes jostle each other out of heel position to try to be the one who gets the cookies). Not all training needs to be serious "heel/sit/stay/down/come" type of training - and in fact, I get a LOT done with play training and it keeps my dogs happy and enthusiastic.

So the simple answer is "yes, I have bad days" and "yes, my dog has bad days" and we just have to deal with it. Forcing training when either the human or the dog is "off" can have bad results.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks again for all of this insight. And Packen, he is living with the trainer until March so I can have time to get everything together that needs getting together to bring him home. It's a necessary evil, I think, as I can't bring him home right now and I don't want to wait until March to begin his training. So for the next few months I'll be seeing him/training with him several times a week. I can only hope that with a lot of effort I can transfer the bond he's forming with the trainer to me. Of course I'd be glad to hear your thoughts about that, since this is entirely new to me.

I can hardly believe sometimes all that I've learned just in the past few months, thanks in large part to the people on this forum.
 
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