Well, I thought about pulling an April fools joke but, after buku email with just that, I changed my mind.
I am keeping it short this month… spring thing I guess 🙂
When training you need to monitor your emotions and that of your teammate. by the time you attempt to navigate a stressful environment you should have elaborated each skill to the point that it has become automatic. No elaboration in not repetition nor is it just walking head on into a home depot or dog park. If you do not understand this statement please Email Motley
If you move into a situation that you have not prepared the team for you will face situations were anxiety and/or over excitement becomes an issue you need to take a step back and focus on that emotion. Once you have reached a certain emotional intensity learning and recall go out the window. (Loftus) This is true of dogs and people.
Learning takes place in that “golden zone between just acting on instinct and being over stimulated.. kind of like that Goldilocks story. Just like Motley’s theory of attention you can work up to a point were both you and your dog can effectively communicate and work in a crazy environment but, the more distracting the operational environment the more work you need to put in so that your basics or foundation is unshakeable.
All to often I see people getting frustrated with their dog because the dog is far to excited or anxious to work in the conditions that are present. You have to do that ground work or you have to accept that under certain conditions your dog is not in a state of mind to communicate with you or you may not be in a state to be an effective leader. It is also very important to realize that what might be a very secure and calm environment for one dog or person maybe a trigger of anxiety and/or excitement for others. Get to know your triggers and your teammates. You NEVER correct or punish a dog when in an emotional state. When and if a correction is necessary you want a cool head and you want you dog to have a cool head. There is a giant difference between correction and punishment. Punishment should never occur. Correction can be as simple as redirecting you and your dogs attention. Remember the Goldilocks or Gold Zone.
Be a good leader and set your team up for success.
Till next time,
Motley says WOOF !