I have created a monster.
I am a reasonably intelligent woman. At least, I thought I was. I have an MSc and teach Msc students while also running 3 businesses, so last week when things came to a head with my dog (she wouldn't even do a down) I had to question where I had gone wrong.
On reflection it all started at 8 weeks old. She already had a Phd in training people and I was emotional and over caring about my new precious puppy who had just been taken away from her mummy. It was my job to love her and make her feel welcome. I now realise she was not a slow learner but a master at her subject. I thought poor puppy she is not mentally or physically ready to learn when she was initially struggling to understand a sit. But oh no even at 8 weeks old and a whole 4 kg she was laying the foundation of our training. She would look at my with the puppy dog eyes and I would feel mean asking her to do stuff that she 'obviously' just didn't get. If I tried to wait her out she would just get up and leave, there was no effort to try giving me any other behaviours as previous dogs had done when I used clicker training.
I thought I was doing everything I could. I socialized her, went to classes and training, I enrolled on online courses. I was putting in some effort! I learned her level of reward was obviously not high enough so I rewarded as much as I could. If she refused to play I would start jumping around, I must be more fun for my puppy. In the mean time she was sitting there thinking 'dance idiot dance' and I was! I was doing all the work and she was getting all the reward. In fact I was so flipping grateful for anything she gave me she in fact was having to do very little for her reward.
Now don't get me wrong we have had some progress and every so often I am allowed to believe we have over come our issues and our training is improving but last week I was reminded it was all on her terms and she just doesn't want to put in the effort to work. She is in fact too posh to pant! I have created a monster.
Luckily I now have the help of an exceptionally talented lady who is one step ahead of my dog and has worked her out (and everything I have done wrong). We are finally on the right track but it is even harder work correcting behaviour than instilling it in the first place.
So what have I learnt from this? At the moment my brain is almost too frazzled to even compute but I must stop being so flipping grateful. I have learnt to make sure I have enough time when training an issue to see it through. I have learnt that if at first you don't succeed try and try again, there will be an answer it is just a case of finding it. Be honest with yourself about your own level of understanding and ask for help. And finally be more persistent than your dog or you will create a monster.