Tera’s Training Tip Of The Day: Recognize Your Dog’s Effort.
Recognizing your retriever’s efforts during training is an influential element of your retriever’s ability to progress in training. As the trainer, one needs to pay attention to the retriever’s attitude, momentum and body language during their lessons. If your retriever is hanging his/her head when you clip the leash to his/her collar then he/she is telegraphing the lesson is no longer fun. One thing I love about these amazing retrievers is they can not lie! What you see, is what you get. If your retriever is stressed, sad, happy or confident they will without a doubt let you know. It is up to the trainer to be focused not only on the lesson at hand, but what the retriever is showing them. Don’t be a trainer who is just going through the motions of training. For example, the book said; I do this, this and this, following step-by-step instruction is O.K., but being rigid is a definite attitude killer for your retriever.
Attention to detail, a non-prejudice open mind and an objective eye, will help a trainer notice unwanted, manifested positive or negative, and changes in behavior. These changes in behavior can be directly related to the training environment or the retriever’s training lessons. Some common reasons for the lessons no longer being fun to your retriever are confusion, lack of successful repetitions or staying in a lesson too long creating boredom. If this poor attitude continues the retriever may regress in their lessons and ultimately stop putting forth effort toward learning. In turn, creating a retriever that no longer enjoys learning and is having to be forced to perform, an ugly sight I promise you. Recognize your retriever’s efforts toward learning, celebrate it, and offer advancement often knowing when to simplify if your retriever is showing signs of being overwhelmed.