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  • Writer's picturekier scott

First To Give In Loses

Training is pressure and release. I think most people know that. Yet some people forget how all encompassing that really is. And then they start getting frustrated with the dog for regressing without asking why it's happening in the first place. If anyone has heard it once, they've heard it a thousand times; consistency is key. Let's take barking as an example. If barking is not allowed, it has to be enforced no matter what. It can't only be enforced when you have a headache or the baby is trying to sleep. It can't be ignored because you're tired and don't feel like doing it. Barking is an example that can apply to anyone with a dog but stock dog training works using the exact same principles. If you're in a training session and you have decided that the dog needs to lie down then you have to stay working on it until they give in. Use a similar example for slicing flanks or gripping. You can't pick a confrontation that you're not willing to go the distance and win. That means you have to be willing to stay out there even it starts raining; even if you're getting tired; even if it's getting dark. When you're in those sort of training confrontations, the first to give in loses. It's derived from two fundamentals that are at the heart of all dog training. Firstly, make the wrong behaviours difficult and the right behaviours easy. Second (the most pertinent in this situation), dogs do not learn from the application of pressure but from the realease. The first fundamental is the single most important methodology of training. The second is exactly why I'm writing this particular blog. The instant you choose to confront an issue, the release of the pressure is what teaches the dog. If you give up because of any other reason besides an improvement in the dogs behaviour, then all you're doing is reinforcing that negative behaviour. Now I want you to reread that previous sentence. You are allowed to release the pressure when you see improvement. Even if the improvement is small. Aiming for perfection will almost always get in the way of progress. I'm going to expand on this in a future blog but as soon as a dog can repeat a behaviour a couple times, that then becomes the standard and you push for progress from that level. Remember dogs typically want to be better and it's our job to help them. If you aren't consistent where you realease pressure then you're applying pressure to an animal that is confused and scared which won't just not help your dog but is also the definition of cruelty. If you feel a disproportionate amount of rebelliousness then you've probably released pressure to early. If you feel a loss of progress then that is doubly true.

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