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What do you do when you get frustrated from dog training?

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rahbits   

[EDIT]

i guess i shouldve added this in aswell but i have very low iron levels which makes me have nearly 0 energy to train or play :( so when i do have little energy i make sure to use it on my dog, but i still get headaches, feeling fatigue and so on, im slowly working to get better! thank u everyone for the comments! really glad i joined this website!

hi there

I've heard alot of people tell me to stop training as soon as I start getting frustrated and annoyed, but is there any other way to over come this? While im out and if im having a bad training day i usually just sit down in a quiet area, somewhere where there arent many distractions and put my dog in a down stay and kind of just wait it out and hope the negative feelings will go away.

If it doesnt i just go back home.. but is there anything i could do after a training session to de-stress and unwind? I absolutely LOVE training my dog, whether itd  be behaviour issues we'd be overcoming or  just fun silly tricks, i love her to bits but she can be stubborn which irritates me. Ive noticed i get frustrated way too easily/quickly and it recently started getting bad, as soon as my dog starts going ahead of me and breaking her heel i correct her with the prong when all i need to do is verbally correct her :( i get really upset with myself when i do that, i only use the prong when shes about to explode (shes dog reactive).

 

Anyways yeah, id love to hear what other people do when they get frustrated after training or during training what they do. 

thanks! 

Edited by rahbits

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Diva   

Remind myself it is never the dogs’ fault. Never. I am in control of the training, I set the criteria, I control the method. I can’t always control the environment, but I control the where and when. I even chose the dog in the first place. 

How can I get frustrated with the dog? It is all mine to own.

If I am frustrated with myself I just think what effect that must have on her, and how unfair that is to her. And I do something easy and fun for the dog for a bit so she finishes happy, then quit for the day.

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I take a deep breath and then play a game instead. Fetch. Tug. A cuddle. Do some silly tricks I know they’ll get right so I can reward and build motivation (if I am frustrated no doubt they are even more frustrated with me!).  Something we both enjoy to distract our minds and build up our engagement without worrying too much how her rear end is positioned or if she dropped forward instead of back for the 10th time or thyme forgot no zigzag on lead and tripped me. 

 

Hell even just jog to the next road if walking. Something to shake us all up. 

 

Then after the break, think about what about the approach I can change to help the dog get it right so I can let them know it was right and reward them. Maybe I need to stand differently. Maybe we need to go back a couple of steps to the basics. Maybe we need some remedial training. Or more breaks to just enjoy each other. 

 

If after the break I am still feeling frustrated. It is time to stop. To go home and chill out. It is not fair to expect my dogs to read my mind, especially if frustrated. Maybe even have some space from the dogs and read a book or go hang out with friends. Get your own motivation and fresh mind back. 

 

 

 

I have a reactive dog too. When she is about to explode, I redirect her attention to me with a queue (her name = look at me). I might even turn her in a heel to have her back to the other dog to make it "easier" to focus on me. If she keeps turning to look at the dog...we have gone too close, she is fixating and will not be able to focus on me. Her brain has stopped working and is stuck in a loop. I will add space by moving away from the dog until we are at the correct distance where we can get some learning going on without fixating on the other dog. Distance varies dependening on dog. Could ignore an old golden walking right by, a bouncy barky frantic small fluffy is much harder challenge so more space.

With practice we are quite close to other dogs now, and she can remain calm even while in a drop, with other dogs heeling around her and another running over some jumps :)
 

 

Lots of impulse control games at home, with food and toys, to help her with her self control. Lately, I've gotten her up to sitting (impatiently) while my other dog and I swing the flirt pole around her very fast. She is sight driven so very hard for her, but she manages to contain herself! This translates to also containing herself if she see's another dog chasing a ball etc.

Edited by Thistle the dog
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Dogsfevr   

The advice is correct ,stop training .The dog is reliant on you to be the brains and train and manage correctly ,if you can’t it’s time to stop and reassess but not at the expense of the dog 

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As you already recognise you have an anger problem and are inflicting pain via the prong when you get frustrated, seek help before you do some serious harm.  :( :(

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I’ve learnt from experience that my dogs’ behaviour will deteriorate if I get frustrated, so I work hard to remain calm and focus on keeping my shoulders relaxed, my knees straight, my movements smooth and my breathing even. I have developed an arsenal of tools to resolve problems - body-language cues, changes in pace or direction, distractions, lures and “nose-teases”, and I practice them regularly under a manageable level of distraction. I try to set up my dog for success by choosing challenges I can “win”. 

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Jumabaar   

If this is happening commonly then you may benefit from more planning before a training session. 

 

What is your goal from the session. 

How are you going to support your dog to that goal.

What will your response be if your dog fails. 

 

You can then evaluate your session after. Did you achieve your goal. Why did it work or not work. Can you modify how you taught your dog to reduce frustration, increase success or be more clear. Were you happy with your response to your dog. 

 

I think taking the time to practice our own mechanical skills such as treat delivery, walking away from situations etc can make a big difference to how we handle training sessions. If we are not able to give clear physical or verbal directions how can the dog respond appropriately? Their behaviour is the cue that triggers our next behaviour. So we need to practice recognising the cue and responding smoothly to it as much as our dog needs to learn to recognise our cues to them and fluently respond to their behaviour. 

 

 

 

I would also consider reducing distractions that would require correction. The more you are focused on looking for behaviours to reward the better frame of mind you will be in, also reducing your frustration. You may be surprised just how many things your dog is doing 'right' when you start to hunt for them. Even with my reactive dog I dont need to correct him because I train him away from situations where the reactive behaviour is triggered. It has resulted in us being able to go into situations that would have been stressful for us both previously because we haven't been practicing frustration. Instead we have practiced a TON of useful behaviours that he is fluent in that we can use out and about. 

 

Since making these changes I am almost never frustrated during training. And if I am it is at my own silliness or knowing that i am missing an ingredient for achieving my goal. Even that is reducing because I am getting better at thinking through training sessions and often they end up going in the direction i hoped for.

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i personally wouldnt have an aversive on (prong collar) if there was any chance that I could get frustrated enough to use it!

 

I train mostly with shaping... I used to get frustrated until I tried to have people shape me to do simple behaviours (and tried on other people) - it is incredibly difficult even getting someone to lift their left hand or walk in a circle with marking and rewarding behaviour - i'm surprised that our dogs manage to learn anything at all when people can barely do it! 

 

Trying it on myself made me realise how hard it would be for them - so if my dog is not getting something, I: 

reward her effort and attempts,

make it even simpler/take it back a level of difficulty

go back to doing something she is great at

praise her for working so hard for me when i don't even speak her language

am just grateful she's wants to play my silly games and learn tricks with me, 

give her a cuddle

we play tug/fetch and

i think about how to break it down to even smaller components, or get the right level of arousal (thinking is harder if youre too excited) before attempting again

 

Oh and letting go of the "rush" to train something, progress not perfection! Theres a quote that says "if a flower doesn't grow, you correct the environment, not the flower" :)

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JacAbik9   

Have a goal in mind whenever you take the dog out. It helps to write it down in a journal or something. I personally found this really beneficial, especially when the goals were simple. I'd have 2 simple goals that I know we can achieve, and 1 or 2 more that are a little harder and optional. 

 

Ask the dog to do something that you know she can do. Having a little 'win' can help your frustration levels (and hers). 

 

Work with a trainer if you're not already doing so. Having an extra set of eyes, and skilled hands can jump start training and make you passionate about progress again. 

 

Change your mindset. Easier said than done, I know! But instead of viewing the dog's failure to comply as literal failure, view it as a learning opportunity. If she reacts to another dog, it is an opportunity to communicate that reacting is bad, and walking at heel is good. Instead of trying to avoid other dogs, seek them out to work through your dog's problems. If she forges ahead, internally celebrate because it means you can remind her of what you want her to do. 

 

Frustration is a normal part of working dogs. Having a variety of tools in the toolbox can also help immensely. If x,y,z isn't working, you can try a,b or c and hopefully make even just a little progress in a session. I'll add a caution to not label a dog 'stubborn'. What we view as obstinacy is really just our failure to properly motivate a dog. If she doesn't respond to the treats we have, they're not high value enough/she's not hungry enough. If a correction doesn't inhibit her behaviour at least temporarily, it wasn't aversive enough etc. 

 

Nobody's perfect, stop being so hard on yourself! 

Edited by JacAbik9
Grammatical error
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Roova   

So much great advice here! The first step to improving is seeking help or education  so good on you!

 

I also noticed you commented that your dog is stubborn.

 

Labelling behaviour can be dangerous because it immediately closes your  mind to what else could be going on.

 

As Jac said dogs generally don't stubbornly refuse to learn but they can definitely be insufficiently motivated or just simply not understanding what you want.  

 

You get further faster if you look at the behaviour you see in front of you and adjust what you're doing if necessary.  Learn to recognise your dog's body language if they're getting stressed or confused (yawning, sniffing, body shake etc) and take a break, go back a step or rethink your approach where necessary. 

 

Also make sure your dog has value for you first then work on rewarding with tug, food , praise or  permission dependant on what works best. 

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rahbits   
On 13/03/2018 at 8:17 PM, Dame Danny's Darling said:

As you already recognise you have an anger problem and are inflicting pain via the prong when you get frustrated, seek help before you do some serious harm.  :( :(

ive been meditating alot and its helped alot ^_^ 

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rahbits   
On 14/03/2018 at 5:13 AM, Roova said:

So much great advice here! The first step to improving is seeking help or education  so good on you!

 

I also noticed you commented that your dog is stubborn.

 

Labelling behaviour can be dangerous because it immediately closes your  mind to what else could be going on.

 

As Jac said dogs generally don't stubbornly refuse to learn but they can definitely be insufficiently motivated or just simply not understanding what you want.  

 

You get further faster if you look at the behaviour you see in front of you and adjust what you're doing if necessary.  Learn to recognise your dog's body language if they're getting stressed or confused (yawning, sniffing, body shake etc) and take a break, go back a step or rethink your approach where necessary. 

 

Also make sure your dog has value for you first then work on rewarding with tug, food , praise or  permission dependant on what works best. 

wow thank u so much! lately ive been doing alot of engagement work w my dog to strengthen our recall and relationship/trust. ive been taking a break from the prong barely use it unless need to now! which im super happy bout, ill be more aware of her body language when training! thanks again!

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rahbits   
On 14/03/2018 at 3:05 AM, JacAbik9 said:

Have a goal in mind whenever you take the dog out. It helps to write it down in a journal or something. I personally found this really beneficial, especially when the goals were simple. I'd have 2 simple goals that I know we can achieve, and 1 or 2 more that are a little harder and optional. 

 

Ask the dog to do something that you know she can do. Having a little 'win' can help your frustration levels (and hers). 

 

Work with a trainer if you're not already doing so. Having an extra set of eyes, and skilled hands can jump start training and make you passionate about progress again. 

 

Change your mindset. Easier said than done, I know! But instead of viewing the dog's failure to comply as literal failure, view it as a learning opportunity. If she reacts to another dog, it is an opportunity to communicate that reacting is bad, and walking at heel is good. Instead of trying to avoid other dogs, seek them out to work through your dog's problems. If she forges ahead, internally celebrate because it means you can remind her of what you want her to do. 

 

Frustration is a normal part of working dogs. Having a variety of tools in the toolbox can also help immensely. If x,y,z isn't working, you can try a,b or c and hopefully make even just a little progress in a session. I'll add a caution to not label a dog 'stubborn'. What we view as obstinacy is really just our failure to properly motivate a dog. If she doesn't respond to the treats we have, they're not high value enough/she's not hungry enough. If a correction doesn't inhibit her behaviour at least temporarily, it wasn't aversive enough etc. 

 

Nobody's perfect, stop being so hard on yourself! 

this was so informative thank u so much! past 5 months of so we've been challenging her dog reactivity and we can now walk right past a dog, just some bad days where she does react badly but shes doing great! ill take things slow, one problem ive noticed bout myself is that im always rushing when training instead of going slow and at my dogs pace :( but ill work hard! 

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Tassie   

Good that you're open to taking different information on board.    It's good that you're seeing improvement on the reactivity front .. but it's worth bearing in mind that  if the dog does react, you're being given information that the challenge presented  was more than she was capable of dealing with at this stage of her improvement, so a better response IMHO would be something like "turn & go" .. showing her that you understood what she was telling you, and you've got her back and will protect her from challenges she can't handle.   The problem with using a major aversive is that it comes with possible fallout .. there is a risk that your dog might "blame" other dogs for the discomfort/unpleasantness.

 

You might find some interesting work on reactive dogs if you check out Glasgow Dog Trainer .. he has some excellent Youtube  videos. 

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rahbits   
30 minutes ago, Tassie said:

Good that you're open to taking different information on board.    It's good that you're seeing improvement on the reactivity front .. but it's worth bearing in mind that  if the dog does react, you're being given information that the challenge presented  was more than she was capable of dealing with at this stage of her improvement, so a better response IMHO would be something like "turn & go" .. showing her that you understood what she was telling you, and you've got her back and will protect her from challenges she can't handle.   The problem with using a major aversive is that it comes with possible fallout .. there is a risk that your dog might "blame" other dogs for the discomfort/unpleasantness.

 

You might find some interesting work on reactive dogs if you check out Glasgow Dog Trainer .. he has some excellent Youtube  videos. 

I 100% agree with you, i do do that 'turn and go' thing when i see shes tense and staring at the dog intensely, i turn around a few times and tell her to sit which helps her out alot since shes looking at me and no longer has vision of the dog which was causing her to start acting up, but after a few times of this we continue to walk pass the dog and with ease! but of course if it is too much, i always take another route :D and ill check out the vids thanks so much for the recommendations! 

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Rebanne   

 You just correct her with the prong because you can't control yourself. Admitted in your first post.

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rahbits   
1 hour ago, Rebanne said:

 You just correct her with the prong because you can't control yourself. Admitted in your first post.

edited the post so people dont get the wrong idea, sorry if you thought i was letting my anger out on my dog

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Don’t forget, she is only two years old. That is young for a GSD, she is only just beginning to mature so she will forget herself and make mistakes. That’s why you step in and redirect her before she makes the mistakes so that you can build habit and patterns of choosing to look to you, of her making the choice and the you rewarding that choice - be it treats, space from the upsetting dog, a game, praise. Does require you to get very good at recognising smaller and smaller signs of her making decisions. 

 

When she slips, as above, that is information a situation was beyond her capability to think through right now. It happens, you both make mistakes. Think and plan how could have avoided the fixation or explosion and try again another day. 

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rahbits   
10 minutes ago, Thistle the dog said:

Don’t forget, she is only two years old. That is young for a GSD, she is only just beginning to mature so she will forget herself and make mistakes. That’s why you step in and redirect her before she makes the mistakes so that you can build habit and patterns of choosing to look to you, of her making the choice and the you rewarding that choice - be it treats, space from the upsetting dog, a game, praise. Does require you to get very good at recognising smaller and smaller signs of her making decisions. 

 

When she slips, as above, that is information a situation was beyond her capability to think through right now. It happens, you both make mistakes. Think and plan how could have avoided the fixation or explosion and try again another day. 

yes one of the other things i gotta work on is my timing when to correct or reward her which is totally my fault but im practicing, trying to read her body language better etc, thank you so much for the comment

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I train off leash or using a flat collar and loose leash if I need to control access to the environment. I don't use it as a correction.

 

As the great Bob Bailey says about how training sessions should be carried out....Think. Plan. Do. Review.

 

That means, knowing what you've got, what you want and how you're going to get there. Video. Look at your timing. Note take. Set a timer. 2-3 min of awesome training is 100 times better than 10 minutes of slog.

 

Split. Don't lump.

 

Find the joy. Evaluate your dog. If you are not BOTH having fun, stop and re-set.

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