My Dog Stopped Doing What I “Ask”…
I’ve been asked quite a few times lately about the reasons behind a dog suddenly no longer wanting to comply with specific things they have excelled at in the past. Which is really funny, because Vino decided he wasn’t going to participate with anything going on in his normal fashion this past week, so lets take a look into some dog brain! Understanding the thought process is really the first way to break down the issue, and realize that this might actually not be such a bad thing!
Let us, for example, look at a dog that has recently been excelling at stay. In this situation, the dog has been doing really well at distance, distraction, and duration, and one day, you wake up and he decided he’s no longer going to follow through. What’s the first step?
Evaluate what you have been doing with your dog. When they get up from a stay without their release word giving them permission to go, do you put them back and start over? Do you issue any type of correction? Did you look, talk, or touch your dog? Did you give them a treat/pat on the head? Or do you just walk away?
Long list, right?
Of course it is! It’s important that you check what your doing before you move on to the next aspect. The most appropriate, and beneficial course of action would be to correct, back them up (with your body), put them back into position, and start over. If you talk to them, walk away, or reward them for NOT completing the exercise correctly (whatever it may be) you are allowing your dog to move on when they feel like it, and it teaches them they don’t HAVE to comply with what your asking.
SO! Lets add my giant monster to this equation…Vino had a hard week…or maybe I should say I had a hard week…and he decided he would do what he wanted, when he wanted, and he was clearly in for a rude awakening. I always have the dogs lay down, and wait for their meals, and this past week he decided he didn’t have to anymore. When I said “sit”, he SLOWLY put his bum down, and (here’s the best part) I said “lay down”…and he just sat there. Staring at me. So I gathered his focus, deepened my voice, and said “LAY DOWN!”, and AGAIN, he just sat there. On my third give of the command, he started to move away from me, so I quickly corrected him and demanded a “DOWN!”. He seriously just slumped onto the floor. Frustrating? YES!
By following through, even through MY frustration, Vino learned that I have no intention of wavering, and the rules are the rules. I don’t let him on my couch, because I don’t want him on my furniture. I don’t let him in the front seat of my car, because I don’t want him there. I don’t allow him to leave without finishing a command, because I want him to be 100% sure that whatever I ask is what I am REQUIRING, not quietly requesting. Vino generally needs reminded that he isn’t in control…
Sometimes you feel like your rolling through training like nothing can get in your way, and you wake up one morning with a defiant little monster. Never fear, I view this as a good sign that the dog has a pretty good idea of what is required, but they are testing you to see if you will really follow through (possibly because you don’t always). They are opportunistic little beasts, and it’s really important that you stick to your guns, and rules should always be 100% black and white. There is no sometimes, or occasionally, it’s always…no matter what! Keep working hard, and stick to your guns…Remember, don’t “ask”, tell them what you want, and follow through! You are in the middle of building an awesome relationship! Keep them busy!