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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Which I know we all have as dog owners? Interested to hear your ideas, not least because mine sometimes fail.

When Tuva suddenly stops listening (like when, yesterday, she failed her recall in the park where she's been fine for a week, then dodged me so I needed 10 mins even to catch her), my positive attitude sometimes fails me. Or when, like just now, she pulls every which way on a walk after a FULL MONTH of loose-leash training, I have trouble not getting snappy with her. I think, "Gorrammit, all the training I've done has been totally USELESS, we never get anywhere!" Or even, "I am a terrible furmom/owner, she would be better off with someone else who knows what they are doing." Here are the things that help me, though sometimes they aren't enough. In this order:

-Take a walk without her. Blow off steam. Yell out loud in a wide open space. Make a forum rant (sorry guys).

-Do something I enjoy that gives me a bit of space from her, like baking, while giving her something she enjoys quietly on her own, like a new knucklebone or pb kong.

-Work on something we are both good at, like well known tricks. Do a shaping session to rid myself of expectations.

-Spend 5 minutes taking mental or actual note of everything she does that I like, or have taught. The list always astonishes me in its length!

-Take a look at the problem that got me so frustrated, deconstruct it. For instance, her misbehavior on the walk is fully explained by the fact some of her favorite human housemates just left for a trip. She didn't get her walk at the usual hour, and is stressed that they are gone.

-Go do something easy and proactive that addresses the situation. For instance: occupy her and burn her mental energy with "find it" training, cool down with calming signals, then go out for another walk.

But as someone once said: I give myself such very good advice, but I very seldom follow it. I find it hard to take the space sometimes, because she is so hyper at these times, I think she'll go wild in her crate or tear up the living room if left out of it.

Some of you just seem superhumanly cool and calm even with, say, aggression problems and a houseful of dogs, and in competition arenas. I aspire to your levelheadedness. Please let me in on your wuffin ways. :thumbsup:
 

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Don't ever do the 'catch me if you can' routine... It's hugely rewarding for the dogs... Instead, sit down with your back to her, and examine some very funny things in the grass... Laugh out loud! She'll probably come looking and then you can share the fun with her... or just calmly walk up to her, grab her collar, give her a treat and leave her for some more fun...

Never reprimand her for not coming.. in fact don't call her, if you're not 100% sure she'll come...

I would also give extremely good treats on recall, and stop before the dog gets tired of listening to you... You mentioned in an earlier post she stopped being interested in treats after 30 minutes... 30 minutes are too long a training session... Keep them short and interesting 5-10 minutes at a time...

I don't really have any bad training days, as I don't train Storm much... He walks on loose lead - always... He comes, when called - always... He sits and lies down, when asked - always... He never begs, in fact when I start to eat, he jumps on his couch without even being asked... Yes, he's perfect :p

Any frustrations you need to let out, definitely do it without your dog...
 

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Before training or working sessions, I may sure Guinness has had a bit of fun. So we play a game that she likes, whether it's fetch or a bit of flirt pole. Either way she burning some extra energy and then we work on some training sessions.

Dogs have their bad days just like humans and it's something I remind myself. If Guinness is just not in the zone to work, I just stop the training session immediately. No playing but no displays of anger or frustration. I simply just start doing something else. A lot of time, I'll read for a little.

But the important thing as well is to keep sessions short. After doing the same thing over and over for a long length of time...you bet even I'll stop paying attention and will want to do something different.

As for recall, unless your dog is 100% including with distractions, I would not let him or her off leash. I suggest when it comes to recall, is getting a nice long lead. This way, if she gets distracted or tries to run off you still have her. As the other post mentioned, high value treats are especially great to have during these training times.

I keep a calm face for my dog but trust me on the inside sometimes, there is a raging woman wanting to explode.
 
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How do I cope when I get stressed? Wine. :)

Just kidding. Well kind of.... Friend time w/wine and/or food. Or just food.

If they're just being busy PITAs, I give them something to do.

If I'm stressed for other reasons, I'll play with them, take one of the girls on a walk, or do some fun training with Champ.

If I know I'm too frustrated to train, I avoid it.

It's rare that I get frustrated during training (clicker training is fun ;) ), but if I feel myself getting impatient for any reason, I end on a positive note and go take a break.

Admittedly, I've broken down and cried after working on/dealing with some of Champ's issues, but I do my best to keep my calm when I actually interacting with him.
 

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I really like the idea of clicker training but my timing sucks. I do snap my fingers when I don't want them to follow me through a door and that works.
 

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How I cope: beer and cigarettes ( gave up cigs for 8 years, started when my Martin, my Shar-Pei, died and still struggling to quit again).

How I should cope: Thinking about all the problems we DON'T have. Remember how lucky we actually are when it comes to pets and other things:
- My dogs are sleeping right now, my youngest cat, Bing Bing, is sleeping in between them. Having had cat-aggressive dogs before (total separation 24x7), this is just magic - it's a combination of having C&J since puppies and the most amazing cat in the world (bing bing is not a cat - she is an empathic loving alien in a cats body sent to promote world-peace and she is easier to train than most dogs).
- All of us, humans and animals in our home are all physically healthy - a blessing.
- 99% of the time things are really fine. Me and my wife has created a good, warm, safe home and we seven souls living happily together. Sure, Charlie might be afraid of his own shadow when we are outside, James might decide that I-better-bark-kill-that-evil-looking-woman-away-before-she-gets-to-me, but honestly, most of it really doesn't matter too much when you compare to all the good time we spend together.

I'm really at a low point when it comes to James and Charlie and my ability as a owner/trainer right now so I'm surprised I wrote the things above!
 

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Honestly, I either go to the gym (good for ANY frustration, not just dog-related!!), or if she is driving me nuts in the house and we have had a bad day, I keep a stash of really yummy bones (centre bones, trachea, knucklebones) that I KNOW will keep her the heck away from me for a while so I can do something else and just relax....

Then I actually really like grooming her. It feels like nice,relaxing bonding, and I just want to snuggle her after.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for your replies, folks! I realized I left out a lot of situational details in the frustrating incidents described.

But the important thing as well is to keep sessions short. After doing the same thing over and over for a long length of time...you bet even I'll stop paying attention and will want to do something different.


Totally. The problem I have is that "training session" is ill defined in situations like walks. I live in kind of a college town within a large city, so avoiding distraction isn't possible. I don't want to limit her time out, both because she would be miserable and because I, therefore, would also be miserable. We do indoor and backyard training sessions, and late night ones. These all seem to help, but not enough. Reactivity still takes over sometimes, as does eagerness to reach a friendly dog or a terrified squirrell. Still need to keep her attention with food and clicks (for "look at me") and reverse direction a lot to get past distractions. Working on LAT and rewarding for calmness when I know what she's afraid of and can get/keep her below threshold.

As for recall, unless your dog is 100% including with distractions, I would not let him or her off leash. I suggest when it comes to recall, is getting a nice long lead. This way, if she gets distracted or tries to run off you still have her. As the other post mentioned, high value treats are especially great to have during these training times.

Yeah, went back to the long leash right after that incident. I got overconfident, was my bad.

Don't ever do the 'catch me if you can' routine... It's hugely rewarding for the dogs... Instead, sit down with your back to her, and examine some very funny things in the grass... Laugh out loud! She'll probably come looking and then you can share the fun with her... or just calmly walk up to her, grab her collar, give her a treat and leave her for some more fun...

This is my normal policy: misbehavior merits total lack of attention. Usually I go play by myself with something fun-looking and she comes back. Unfortunately, the reason she ran off was she caught a whiff of chicken. Gross chicken. With bones. IN A DOG PARK. NOTHING is higher value than chicken bones to her. She no longer picks them up on walks, but it seems she couldn't generalize that rule to offleash. She'd eaten one and had another in her mouth by the time I was within 10 feet. Keeping her moving kept her from eating the other one, and it was cracked but uningested when I got it from her. Glad I got it, as i cut my finger on one of the bone-edges while inspecting it for missing pieces. She may currently be suffering the aftereffects of that first bone, my post on the happenings is in the health forum.

Honestly, I'm thankful it was late night and we were alone. Some people do bring dogs with heavy dog-directed RG problems to dog parks, and that could have been a really dangerous situation then.

Is it possible someone uneducated thought they were giving the dogs a treat? Is the only non-malicious motive I can think of. One can't really walk by without knowing it's a dog park. Signs, etc.
 

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How do I cope? I stop and take a breath, then fake it 'til I make it.

Or if I can't at least pretend to be positive, I just stop for that day and do something really low pressure with them like play tug or take a walk or even just horse around with them. I think there's a really normal human thing of not wanting to quit on a failure, but I've done it enough to learn that stubbornly pushing and pushing and pushing to get that one success to end on is usually counterproductive and spirals everyone's frustration up and up.
 

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Take a look at the problem that got me so frustrated, deconstruct it. For instance, her misbehavior on the walk is fully explained by the fact some of her favorite human housemates just left for a trip. She didn't get her walk at the usual hour, and is stressed that they are gone.
That's largely how it works for me with Eva. When she's in full-blown hyper manic pixie zoomie mode, I pause and determine if it's just energy or stress or both. The good thing is that both Erik and Eva are pretty transparent; Erik's body language is typically textbook and Eva has several signals to tell me her different states and moods. If I'm not paying attention to those things, then that's where frustration sets in and training's over. They remind me to be patient and attentive before we do any activities.

Gracie's far more engimatic and low-key, so training sessions with her are harder to parse. She'll either give you 100% or nothing at all.
 

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I get out Cobber's favorite toys that we can both play with (tug-type) and work off my own frustrations while playing with him. Then I have a chat with myself about how he's a puppy, in the whole teenage phase thing, is 99.9% of the time the perfect dog to be with, and *I*'m the one who needs to practice patience :)
 

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Having a husky puppy makes you rethink a lot. My guy listens ok, but what he listens to kind of changes every day and he is definitely a work in progess. Then there are just great moments when I know I am doing right and I hold on to those things.

Like when he meets a new person and he sits nice for attention. When I say leave it when he has cornered a baby opposum in the backyard and he acknowledges me with interest. When my cats both run through the living room and he just sits there with a quick glance and then and keeps chewing his bone.

If I get stressed about my puppy, I just go sit with my good old senior dogs and realize that one day soon my puppy will be an adult and then a wonderful senior companion. These puppy moments create a lifetime of memories that will make you laugh for years to come.
 
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