THE RESET BUTTON

Reset, Reboot, Do-over.

When you’re training your puppy or adult dog, any particular individual segment of that training session, that doesn’t go smoothly can become frustrating, confusing, upsetting, agitating, and unpleasant for both of you.

Let’s take a simple example. You walk to the door to teach your dog to sit, stay until you open the door, and say OK so that both of you cross the threshold together. You tell your dog to sit, then stay. Your dog gets up and turns around, plays with something on the floor and you start to get frustrated. Clearly, your dog is not paying attention to you. This is where the “reset” comes in. Instead of doing the training exercise over and over in the same place, simply turn away from the door and walk back into your home about six (6) feet, turn around, and head toward the door.  This do-over is what I think of as the reset.

Here’s another example. I often see pet parents walking their dogs on the blacktop a foot or two off the grass that is attracting their dogs to pull in that direction. Keeping your dog at heel so that there is no pulling toward grass or other distractions is another lesson entirely. However, if your dog manages to steer you in the direction of someone’s lawn and once there, refuses to come back, don’t pull your dog to correct him. It most likely will not work or make the situation worse. Instead, try walking toward your dog and circling around him, and then lead him in the correct direction. Do it without hesitation and use an encouraging tone of voice. If necessary try a squeaker removed from an old toy.

Emotions are contagious. If you become frustrated or annoyed your dog will not benefit from repeating the same technique or action over and over. Think of something that you may be discouragingly irritating to you. For me, it’s working on the computer and not knowing how to fix a particular issue.  The best thing for me to do is shut it down and walk away. The do-over is always more successful.