Help! What I was told to do isn’t working!
How you do things is just as important as what you are doing! While you may understand what to do, actually carrying it out in the right way is also important to your dog’s success!
Below are some common examples I have come across recently.
- Early neurological stimulation is a program that is done on individual pups in a litter when the pups are between 3 and 16 days old to help build a more resilient adult dog. Doing the protocol earlier or later will affect how much impact it has on each pup. Doing each step shorter or longer also affects the outcome. Doing 3 seconds instead of 5 makes a big difference. How often the protocol is done (such as more than once a day) can also affect the outcome.
- Once a pup comes home, socialization to your world is key to later confidence. Whether you force the pup into situations or let him decide how fast he will go into interactive situations is one example. Do you set the pace of interaction or do you let your pup set the pace or something in between?
- When carrying out a systematic desensitization process for excitement before going for walks, do you leave a harness on a doorknob or do you take it out only for desensitization sessions. Do you have the harness close to the dog or far away to start with?
- When you are training operantly, how is your timing? What criterion are you using as your objective for that session? Where are you delivering your treat? Are you talking to your dog and making extra motion when you train? These can confuse a dog.
- When using massage, do you use long firm strokes or short fast strokes? Long slow strokes with a full hand can calm a dog. Short fast strokes using just the finger tips can actually excite a dog and do the opposite of what you want.
So the next time you read a training description or watch a video, it is good to pay attention to how you do something, not just what you do!
And if you find the process isn’t working for you, get some help from an experienced trainer who can spot these tiny pieces that can make a huge difference in you and your service dog’s success.
Book a Zoom consult, show me what you are doing and how you are doing it, or submit a video for us to discuss! You’ll be glad you did! Little changes can have big effects!