The other night in puppy class I heard the instructor say, “Sometimes you just have to over train.” What she meant is that just because you spend an hour a week in class, doesn’t mean you and your dog will just “get it.” You have to constantly practice. Then you have to practice again and again. When we first learned down, or lie down, Ray was having none of it if it had to be done on a hard surface. At first I thought he was not going to learn or perform that behavior, but I soon realized he just did not want to do it on a hard floor. I then began luring him to his pillow and then to the carpeted rooms where he became a champion “lie-downer.” Now, however, if I ask him to sit somewhere soft and happen to make any kind of downward motion, he hurls himself into a lying position. Silly boy.
What I also need to remember is that training isn’t just meant for training. We are training for real life circumstances. I know that sounds a little daft, but bear with me. We’ve been in the mode of class and practice for long enough now and there are times that I do set aside for practice in the morning, that I might not remember that this stuff isn’t just for practice. What I mean by that is there are real life circumstances in which I forget to utilize my training.
This morning, Ray seemed to want to eat from one of his food puzzles so as I was sitting on the floor trying to screw the top to the bottom, Ray was trying to help by butting his head and batting his paws at me in an effort to speed my progress. After absentmindedly batting him away a couple times, I said, “Sit.” And he did. He plopped his little butt down and waited for me to finish putting the thing together and to give it to him. I’m a little hesitant to say that I was a little dumbfounded that it worked so easily.
See? I guess I’m not too old to learn new tricks either.