Hi, everyone. This is Bastian from the K9 Way. The topic of today’s video is you can only go at your dog’s pace. One of the big mistakes people make is jumping the gun. Meaning we go too far, too soon, too quick without putting the work in, without creating a foundation from which to move forward. An example is teaching tricks. When you start teaching your dog tricks or commands people tend to jump ahead. They want to start calling the dog when it’s 5 meters away distracted by something. Or want the dog to stay for 20 seconds and walk all over the room. Or teach the dog to sit when it’s distracted by something else. That can all happen but we need to take the first steps first. Meaning that we need to start really simple.
If you want the dog to come reliably at home, you start at an opportune moment. Meaning when the dog is really close to you, maybe a meter or two away, not distracted by anything. That’s when you start calling it. Then there’s a really high chance that it comes. And then you reward. So you create a success and you want to repeat that. You want to make that solid. You want to make that really reliable that you have no doubt in your mind that when I call the dog when he’s 2 meters away, no distractions – it will be there. Great, repeat that 40, 50 times and then go on to the next stage.
That’s a smart way of going about it and that’s also a solid way of going forward and then you get results. If we don’t do that, we basically set yourself up for failure because it’s probably not going to work or at least not each time. And then we’re actually taking steps back rather than taking steps forward. And that’s really what we want, taking steps forward so that you get a reliable response, that you create attentiveness, etc etc. But it’s difficult because we live in a society of instant gratification and we want immediate results without putting the work in. And that’s tricky. We just don’t have the patience and we’re just wanting that immediate result, immediate gratification right now. And that’s what our society runs on, everything gets faster and faster. And then it’s difficult to do something else and have a different mindset in relationships, relationship with your dog, making change in yourself, etc. It takes time. It’s not going to happen just like that.
An example, where I didn’t listen to my own advice, you only can go at your dog’s pace, is when I walked a dog the other day, which I walk once a week for clients. Their dog is not aggressive with other dogs but it’s really over the top, super excited, plays up, lunges & barks just seeing other dogs. Even if they’re at a great distance. I put the work in getting the dog to walk nicely in normal situations, but seeing other dogs or birds, it still completely loses it. I pushed it a bit too far when I went too close to another dog and didn’t stay at a distance and didn’t work with it there. I tried to go too close and make the dog relax there and let it go. But I couldn’t get through to the dog so all that happened was just a big struggle. And huge excitement and I didn’t move forward with learning / the dog didn’t move forward with learning because I put it in an environment where the distraction was too strong and it just didn’t work. And possibly took a few steps back because it didn’t relax and it didn’t let go of the focus. That’s was not helpful because it’s we were taking a tiny step backward. At times you can take a step back rather than taking little steps, successive steps, reliable steps forward.
The message is to really take your time and pay attention to where your dog is at and not make it too difficult too soon. Because if you do you step back rather than forward. And it’s going to be quicker and more enjoyable if you take your time and take the little steps and go at your dog’s pace. I hope this makes sense. I hope you get something out of this and you can apply it.