I know setbacks are something that happens to all of us so lets talk about it. There are times when we train our dogs and then they have what we could call a “setback.” What is this all about?
Remember our dogs are no different from us. They will NEVER do anything perfectly all of the time. They have good days and bad days just like us. They have emotions that are affected by our emotions. They have emotions that are affected by their routine or lack of routine. Sometimes there are changes in the environment that are different so it appears the dog is having a setback and actually the dog just needs to generalize this behavior to the new circumstances (a new environment, new person, new distraction, etc.).
What is the best thing to do when your dog has a so called “setback”? The best thing is to feel any emotions and notice the stories that arise. Recommit to a new story if the story is preventing you from moving forward. Presence your emotions and sometimes channeling them to an activity such as running, skiing, yoga, etc. Taking a break is also helpful. The biggest thing to remember is that no matter what thoughts you have and what feelings come back this is just a circumstance of the moment. Things change. Nothing stays the same. The next day your dog could perform the behavior perfectly. Sometimes reminding yourself of the good days can be helpful so that you don’t overreact and actually convince yourself to believe that your dog has unlearned everything.
Be in the moment. Learn from the moment. Look at what is being communicated to you and be with it 🙂
Remember to allow training to be fun. It is not a race or competition. It can take time for a dog to change an ingrained habit!
Johanna Teresi, Professional Trainer of Four Legged Scholars LLC