Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think’ – Albert Einstein
Don’t rush your dog; give them a moment to think! You will be surprised with how much they can accomplish.
As humans we can be very impatient. Think about how annoying you find it when your email takes longer than 2 seconds to update or a video takes forever to buffer (forever being 2 seconds)...I know I get frustrated!
The issue is our dogs are not machines being given commands to do things. They are living beings with their own wants, needs, feelings, thought processes and interests. Sometimes distractions around them mean that, something they would normally find easy to do may take a little longer.
Quite often we can find ourselves in the position of micro managing our dogs. Telling them exactly what to do in all situations and wondering why they never learn for themselves. We often repeat ourselves to the point that the words we are saying become white noise with no meaning. When really all we need to do is give them a little time to think.
Put yourself in this situation: you’re out walking your dog on lead, a bird pops out of the bush in front of you and your dog pulls you towards it. Most people’s reaction would be to pull the dog back to them, possibly while shouting ‘Leave, Buddy LEAVE!’. You’re now flustered, you’re dogs probably confused as to why you shouted at him and annoyed that he wasn’t allowed to go chase the bird. There is a small, but definite, breakdown in communication and the relationship between you and your dog. Nobody has gained anything from the experience.
Now instead I want you to try a different way to handle the situation, a way that will involve your dog thinking and learning to make good choices in situations like this in the future.
Your dog has seen the bird and is at the end of his leash, he can’t go anywhere though; he is still attached to you. Instead of pulling the dog back or shouting something at him, just wait. Simply wait and give your dog a moment to think and make a choice to come back to you. Then if your dog chooses to come back to you have a party; reward them! They have chosen you over the exciting bird so celebrate it; build that relationship!
Don’t rush your dog; give them a moment to think! Try it in as many scenarios as you can. You will see how quickly your dog starts making good choices and how your relationship grows.