Monday, 13 February 2017

When do the clocks change again?



Hope you’re defrosting nicely after a bitter weekend – I counted rain, hail, sleet, snow and a hideous combination of everything! Freya and I did complete our half-marathon trail race (just under 15miles of mud, hills and slog) but I did question my sanity several times… It’s a gentle day of recovering for Freya now with some TD Scentwork to keep her brain occupied.

Now for a random question, have you been to see T2: Trainspotting yet? 

It's definitely worth it and they manage that rare achievement of not making a disappointing sequel to a real classic story. There’s a few surprises including the central character being Spud – I’ll try to avoid any spoilers! This wee chap has been messing up his life for years even when he is trying to do good stuff. It turns out he hasn’t realised the clocks change for British Summer Time, so for half the year he is an hour late for everything important... 

So where’s the dog training lesson in this rather sad tale? Well, Spud didn’t know about the clocks changing because he dropped out of school, had parent problems and spent a lot of his life looking for his next fix. But none of the professionals or responsible adults around him noticed the lack of understanding either – they just got angry with Spud when he was making the same mistakes again and again.

If we keep making the same mistakes, or our dogs keep making the same mistakes, it’s a good idea to stop and take stock of the situation. Ask someone else for an objective view of our behaviour, and check for the really fundamental building blocks before dismissing yourself (or your dog!) as a failure! In dog training that often means looking at the core elements of management (preventing the unwanted behaviour), enrichment (meeting our dog’s needs) and reward (adding the reinforcer into the desired behaviour). 

Sometimes it’s as simple as remembering to change the watch on our wrist. Or thinking about management for a dog that loves to chase squirrels. Or where and when to deliver the reward in heelwork training.

If you can, see T2: Trainspotting and I’d love to know what you thought of it!

Have a great week
Morag and a slightly tired ultracollie

PS if you’re struggling to see where to make the small changes in your training, you can always Borrow My Brain!

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