Today I admit I was a bad trainer! When you train, your attitude needs to be positive. Not fake positive. Faking positive doesn’t count. You need to be able to have your mind available to the situation. This means having the ability to focus only on the moment with your dog. But also, the ability to respond with the appropriate emotion! Emotions can be accelerated if we allow whatever is stressing us to creep into our training, this can cause your dog displace the negative emotion into what they are doing and can cause the dog to shut down. Something else to be aware of is that our dogs are very intuitive to our emotional state. Even if you think you are capable of hiding it.
Another reason I was a bad trainer on this particular day, I decided to work with the weaves as they were presented. What I should have done was taken the time to make the appropriate preparations. I didn’t.
These are very good reasons why my training session should have been a disaster! Especially since my last session caused regression! Instead Listo rose to the challenge. Here is the set up. The channel was set with a space of about an inch and a half apart. This is where I left off. However, to set up for my level one class I had removed 4 wires from one side to use in the building. I decided not to go and get them. I had already had a frustrating day up to this point and I just wanted to do my training and move on.
One side of the weaves had all the wires in place. As I set him up to start, I lined myself up at the approach to the poles and drew my hand through poles 1 and 2 with my fingers together while releasing him from his sit position. As he enters I open my hand flat. On the first attempt his excitement got the better of him and he blasted out. Not a good start and I could have doubted the idea of trying this with no wires but I chalked it up to enthusiasm and tried again. This time my timing was a bit better. I opened my hand and applied just enough pressure into his space to move him around the second pole. I did not touch him to accomplish this. He was in and going. I steadily moved beside him. In a sense I became the wires. Keeping my hand just out of his range but at his head level. I made sure that I stayed steady beside him. Success!! Big playtime with his tug as a reward. I should note that the toy is being held in the hand furthest away from him.
Did this a couple of times from both directions. I liked what I was seeing so I decided to up the ante! I closed them. Still keeping myself on the side of the poles with no wires but giving him a little more space but not too much. I moved just enough to keep with him. I allowed him to find his way. I wanted to see what he would do and what he would offer with just enough support for him to know that I was with him. He did it! Did it a couple more times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Also made sure he did it on my left and right and from both ends. One end had a wire on both sides and the other had a wire only on the one side for the entry. Terrific progress!!
I managed to jump ahead a few stages. Here is how I normally would have progressed. First of all, all wires would have been in place. Next I would have closed them. Then I would have started removing wires. I usually start with the wires in the middle. I usually remove them one at a time and alternating sides until I have just the ones on the ends remaining. It would be at this point that I start playing around with the dogs entries. I also try to make sure I am cognizant of how much I am interfering with him. I need him to realize quickly that this is a process that he is meant to enjoy with me there only as support.
That brings you up to speed on where we are at and how we are supposed to get there. I am blessed that Listo gave me this little gift. It managed to change my attitude about the whole day!