Sunday, August 10, 2008

When to Call it a Day

Peyton & I had our obedience class this morning, and I could tell that he was a little stressed out. Toward the end of class we did some recalls, and while we still struggle with them occasionally, for the most part he's been doing really well. Not so much this morning. I call him - he comes - and then does a little zoomie around me and starts sniffing. Boo. Ok next try...I call him - he comes my way - and then heads toward the exit. Ok, I can take a hint.

But the thing is, I should have known that he mentally done before we did the recalls. I could have spared us both a little frustration, but nooooo...I kept going.

I see this quite often when training - even from some of the best of trainers. I think it must be human nature...if we're having a good day, we tend to want to keep training because hey, look at how good we're doing. And if we're having a not so good day, well maybe if we keep trying it will get better. The key is knowing when to quit, even if you're not ahead.

At home, I've learned this...we generally train in short, fun sessions and I always try to end with him wanting more.

In agility class, I've (pretty much) learned this...and not only when to quit, but when we're ready to start, and when to take mental breaks when we need them.

In obedience class, not so much. I guess it's partly because I don't see it as mentally challenging for us as agility. Most of the work is done on-leash, we're indoors, not as many distractions, etc. I think today reminded me that I need to listen to my dogs when they tell me they've had enough. Besides, there's always tomorrow to work on recalls. :)

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