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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

There is no such thing as a problem dog

Attending a dog training class can be a very embarrassing experience.

There are times when your dog’s impeccable behaviour reflects the training you’ve done and others when he behaves like he’s never had a minute’s training in his life.

It’s the nature of training animals. Ask anyone who works with horses, and they’ll tell you the same. I once drove to Aberdeen with a dog I was certain would win a retriever trial.

He’d performed brilliantly in training, so I was confident the long drive would be worthwhile.

The trial started at nine o’clock. Just as I removed my lead, a hare shot past, and my dog gave chase. I was duly disqualified in front of a large, bemused gallery and on my way home by ten past.

I felt like quitting and never running in another competitive event, but I got over it. Next time out, we won.

No matter what problems you incur during training, you must work through them to reach your goal. If you are trying to solve a behaviour issue, do not despair when your dog slips back into his old ways. Chances are he’s getting his cue from you.

Stay calm at all times; it’s not easy but you can do it with practice. Your calmness will help steady a nervous or excited dog. If you show frustration, it will only destabilise him further.

A dolphin trainer at Sea World told me they encounter exactly the same training problems. You are not alone. You need not be embarrassed, we all have our share of failure.
Providing you don’t quit there is no such thing as a problem dog. There is always an answer; you just have to find it.

I’ve dealt with too many “unsolvable” problems to be impressed.
If you need help, join one of my classes at vicbarlow.com or text me on 07590 560 012.

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