“Seven f*cking years and I still have to train you every day?!” I am just casually sitting outside tending to my succulents when I hear someone yelling these offensive words. Excuse me? Did I just hear that right? Yep sure enough, some guy walking down the street is yelling at their dog complaining that he “still” has to train his dog. It doesn’t stop there, he continues to yell at the dog for another minute before telling the dog to “heel” as they walked by.
I’m glad I left Sahara inside at the time. She usually sits on the landing of the stairs, watching me garden, but if anybody comes too close to the yard or house she barks and doesn’t stop until they are gone. I can only imagine what he would mumble under his breath about her behavior walking by.
It isn’t my place to say anything to him, but this here is my place to say something. Training never stops. Let me say it again for the people in the back,
TRAINING NEVER STOPS.
I’m pretty sure everybody has heard that practice makes perfect. This stands true for everything in life. If you don’t keep practicing things you want to be good at you won’t get better. If you are better and don’t want to get worse you keep practicing. It should go without saying but if you want your dog to continuously do something they need to continuously be doing it! You can’t teach once and then neglect forever.
I don’t teach Sahara a new command and then forget the rest or teach it to her and then never go back to it. I teach it to her until she knows it and then add it into our training sessions where she practices many of her commands. In those training sessions, I focus on the things she struggles with. Then, every few commands I throw in a few that she can get right with no problem, which helps keep her interest. She’s more eager to keep going if I’m rewarding her and making it a positive experience and not just yelling no or cursing at her. Plus she knows when she does something right and loves the feeling she gets from it, she’s ready to do it over and over again.
A dog that is getting yelled at is not going to have the same reaction to training. They will keep struggling out of fear and anxiety. Now, maybe this guy was just having a bad day or something, or maybe he usually goes about training in a different way. I don’t know, I’m just going based off of what he said.
I guess my problem is both the way this man approached the idea of training his dog by yelling at it and making it scared, but also the fact that he didn’t want to put in the work every day. I would have loved to hear him take his dog a few steps back, literally, and try it again. Honestly, who knows what the problem was to begin with! Probably heeling from the sounds of it but either way it’s a moot point.
The point is that training never stops and it never ends. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to do better. Nobody is perfect, not you, not your dog, not me, not my dog. Instead of getting upset and yelling about it, take a few steps back. Try it again.
Work on what they need help with and then once they have that then move on to the next thing they could use some work on and work the old problems into the new so it’s one big continuous loop of training and practicing, day in and day out.
“Seven f*cking years and I still have to train you every day?!” Yes. Yes as a matter of fact sir, you do.