Motley and I have noticed that one of the major obstacles to success seems to be :

  1. A lack of practice
  2. Ineffective practice, practicing incorrectly.
  3. Poor testing to gauge your progress

You can have the greatest trainer and the smartest dog and achieve nothing if you do not practice and practice correctly.  This must be followed by, tests that fit your level of training.

Here is what Motley and I often see,

You practice sitting and waiting for the door to be answered with no distractions, no stress. It is just you and your dog and when you ask them to sit your teammate immediately sits.

You think … Wow … we got it.

But, I come to the door or someone else and your dog gets all excited and won’t listen to a word you say. You think ..Awwwwww … we failed the test, what went wrong? So, you grab the dog and hold them. Well, this is no surprise and its not a training failure… it is a practice failure and the result of a horrible test for your level of training.

If I train you in a quite relaxed environment and then test you in chaos your performance will plummet. (lots of research.)

So remember practice is like a stair case. Start slow, no distractions and no stress. Work your way up to chaos. 🙂 STEP by STEP.

Always test the skill, in the same environment as your train.


If you have no stress in training…. no stress in the test.. or you are setting the team up for failure.

If you are at medium stress … yep, go with medium stress.

Practice is where you push yourselves if you don’t push to a level were you fail you can’t improve. The level of stress in a well designed test should be right below were you fail in practice.

Testing to be reliable and useful.. must be conducted in the same environment that your level of training dictates. If not… the test is not valid. Effective tests must also be followed by an accurate and detailed analysis of your weak and strong points,  leaving the test taker with a guide of specific skills to improve.

When you practice you must gradually progress through increasingly challenging environments and make sure that your tests match the circumstances or the training.


Till next time,


Motley and Jeau