What To Do When YOU Are Not “In The Game”

Did you ever have a training session or class where your 4legged friend was working hard, eager, excited, totally in the game and you. . . weren’t?

That was me at tonight’s Agility For Fun class.

I was just not in a place where I should be training new, complex behaviors. Even before I went I knew I was not in a great place, but with a class I always feel like I paid for it and I don’t want to miss the chance to learn.

Of course sometimes when I just don’t feel like training and I get started it’s so much fun I soon find myself forgetting everything else, playing games and having fun.

Unfortunately that was not to be the case tonight.

Okay confession time. . . I was so in my head in the first 5 minutes of class I stepped on Magnus toes twice! Humilating and horrible to say to the least.

The second time I stepped on him he had just come out of the tunnel, I was trying to get him to get into tugging and after that he would not tug the rest of the class. After that I just stopped everything. We went back to our mat and sat and T-touched and snuggled and just tried to reset.

I started with just slowing down. I sat and breathed and got in touch with him and tried to get out of my head a bit. Then I just started letting him play easy games, get on the things, touch, sits, downs, etc. Things I knew he could handle and I could richly reward.

He is such a trooper! After that he threw himself into doing his best and working for me. He still wouldn’t tug and he was really distractible, but honestly I was still not in the game and I wouldn’t have wanted to play with me either.

I know it’s dramatic, but tonight I felt like here I am-a positive trainer who tries to avoid the use of aversives, and at this class I was the aversive.

So what do you when your just not in the right frame of mind and it’s a class, or trial, or something?

At home I would just change gears, do something easier, more fun, or maybe not do any training at all. At a class there is the pressure I put on myself to get the most out of it and I want to know: Is it best to abandon ship and just call it quits for the night? Is there some way you use to change gears in your head and get in the game?

We spend lots of time figuring out how to get our pups in the game and keep them engaged, what about ourselves? Of course I may be the only Crazymomlady who deals with this level of crazy, but any suggestions are welcome.

As for Magnus? He seems to have survived and is now zonked out asleep in his spot at the end of the bed so hopefully no permanent damage was done. Hopefully he wont be burdened by being handlercapped by me too much of the time!


“My Name is Magnus and I’m a Shoe Monster”

Just A quick post to beg some training advice.

"Shhh. . . Don't tell my Crazymomlady I got another shoe!"

Magnus is obsessed with shoes. I’m considering getting him professional help as he this obsession is now bordering on addiction.

No shoe is safe in our house. Several times a day he proudly prances in and presents me with a shoe dangling from his teeth by the shoe lace.

Want to kick off your shoes after work? Well he wants us to, so he can quickly grab one as his spoil. Want to leave your muddy shoe at the door on the mat to dry? Oh, he will be thrilled to drag that muddy shoe through the house trailing mud as he goes.

He has yet to ruin a shoe, he isn’t chewing them up, but rather thinks they are some kind of prey to sling around and shake to death by that convenient string laced through their neck.

So here is my question, can you train a dog to have his own shoe? Can I give him an old shoe, such as the one I have been watching him drag inside, outside and all around for the last hour, and let it be his? If I let one shoe be an acceptable toy am I setting myself up for a lifetime of shoe management and containment? Do all shoes have to be off limits, total shoe zen by default?

If it is possible to explain, “This ONE shoe is yours, but all the rest of the shoes are mine” how do I train that?

His joy over his shoe right now drives me to ask this crazy question and my faith in all of your expertise lets believe you will have an answer for me!