I’ve Been A Naughty Dog Trainer!

Any Phil Collins fans here?

I love his music and he has some real classics such as ‘In the air tonight’ and ‘Easy lover’ ones I will always sing along too. Though probably my all time favourite song is Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car.

I’m a massive fan of music and earlier in the year, I started to self teach myself the guitar. Initially, this was really rewarding for me. I was starting to put songs together and I’ve managed the base tune for Fast Car which I was pleased with myself for doing. It took some very annoying missed strings and incorrect notes for weeks on end, where I found myself getting super duper annoyed with myself.

I’ve been a naughty dog trainer though because I’ve let it slip and my wiggling fingers have departed from the strings for the last 6 weeks at least.

Learning something new, something we have never tried before is a skill. A skill that needs teaching, practicing all before it being perfected.

I used to pick up the guitar in the evening and sit in front of the laptop to learn the notes to the tune. But I started to find that I wasn’t concentrating as well as I had previously been doing. I know why because I was generally tired after the days work of training and office jobs.

Then I started to get annoyed and frustrated with myself because things weren’t going right. Which ended in me giving it up.

I didn’t set myself up for success. Which meant I wasn’t successful.

When I started with the guitar, I had more spare time than I do now as I wasn’t ”out in the field” as much as I am now. I only had a couple of dogs to walk, I would work through the online and paperwork jobs during the day, leaving me with more time and energy in the evening to learn the skill I wanted to learn.

Recently, with the book writing and everything attached to it, I am ‘up and at em’ by 5:30am, out training dogs from 9-3/4pm, then I come home, walk and see to my own dogs. Finish up the daily tasks, look at the clock around 8pm and collapse lol.

Playing the guitar has been the last thing on my mind. I see it every day as it is situated, leaning against the wall, right next to my desk.

And when I do see it, I feel quite guilty because I know playing it used to relax me and in turn I felt better when things went right with it.

The feelings of negativity I had towards the guitar wasn’t the guitar’s fault. It was mine. The guitar wasn’t doing anything wrong, it was more a case of me doing the skill incorrectly. When I had the energy to learn and work harder to alter any mistakes I made in the learning process, lead to me having more success because I stuck at it.

When I kept getting it wrong, my enthusiasm and motivation rapidly decreased, before giving up.

I will pick it back up again though. After I detach the spider that’s very rudely using it as a cover corner. Eurgh!

I see a similar thing with dog owners when they are learning about how to train their barking dog. At first, and under the watchful eye of the trainer, things can be great. You have the support and guidance which allows you to achieve.

But then, when you are out there doing it on your own, things can soon start to go wrong, then you’re stuck because you don’t know what to do to get things back on track and working again. Wouldn’t it be marvellous if you could have a dog trainer on hand to help you whenever you got in to a pickle?

I recorded an online class with Dominic Hodgson the other month where he was asking me about all things puppy. Getting things right from the start is really useful, but things can soon start to go wrong and that’s where you and I are right now with our dogs. This makes the training process a little bit longer because you’re dog has already learned that the barking is working for them.

I mentioned about setting dogs up for success and the reason we do this is so the dog starts to not only be rewarded but also has as much fun as they can whilst training. This is so they start to believe they are utterly amazing at the training and games. Which brings them more joy and happy vibes, instead of the scared or anxious feelings they have become accustomed too feeling.

It builds confidence.

And with confidence comes enthusiasm, bringing new skills that get rewarded, which in turn get repeated!

So, if your dog doesn’t do something that you would like them to be doing or maybe you’ve attempted to teach them something and they just didn’t seem to get it, then you need to ask yourself this…

‘Is it rewarding and easy enough for them?’

Dogs think differently to how we do and they can soon lose interest in certain activities if they think that they are not very good at it or they aren’t reaping some kind of valuable reward in the process.

Can you learn and stick to the new skill of effectively training your dog, or will you be a naughty dog owner and give up on it?

Speak soon amigo,
Claire.

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