If this wasn't my dog, what would I say to a client that I'm coaching?
It's been on my mind a lot lately. Some things are coming together nicely ... but others?! Wow. I know how frustrating it feels on my end. It can't feel any better on her's.
I've started to write this post multiple times, and then something would improve so I'd just let it go.
But really, truly, honestly. Things aren't improving that much. She is young and super sensitive, but is she learning the things I want her to learn right now? Is she learning what I want her to learn about trials and the competition ring?! I don't think so.
I strongly believe that when the dog does something "wrong" they're just telling you that they don't understand and you haven't proofed this enough yet. It's a conversation between you and your dog. Well, she's certainly been telling me loudly enough that she can't do this right now for whatever reason. That's on me, not her.
Dragging the dog to Disneyland is just pointless. I can manage to a point, but once that leash comes off and there are no rewards, I don't get to manage anymore. It's all her. I've missed a crucial step along the way somewhere because that connection keeps falling flat.
She'll make me a much better trainer in the long run, and I have the tools I need to work through this, I just need to start and keep the ball rolling. So that's where we're going. Hopefully she'll be in season for the next trial that I have her entered in, because she certainly won't be going into the ring. From there on out, no trialing.
1) Relationship building through play
4) Cookie jar games
Fun matches and training at the barn can continue, but the focus needs to come off of agility behaviors and zero in on the missing link, engagement.