Failure leads to frustration.

Did you ever notice the red quotes down the right side of my blog?  These are my quotes that I often use when discussing dog behavior or life with dogs in general.  "Failure leads to frustration."  Not always but often, and it can also lead to a complete shutdown.  All dogs are different, they all respond differently to things.  So what you get as far as a responsive behavior from failure will range vastly.  Some dogs will simply walk away, others will get naughty.  I've dealt with many different aspects of failure from dogs.  Watching an owner work with a dog who is growing is frustrating for me as well.

Some failure is okay but too much and you start to get frustration.  We cannot explain to our dogs that if you just keep trying that they'll get it.  We have to work through their frustration.  Working with new dogs is very educational, they can offer responses that I have never seen before.   I love this because then I have to sit back and figure out what is going on.  Frustration is pretty easy to see and pick out; that is if you know what you are looking for.

Frustration can show itself when you are trying to teach your dog a new behavior or when they are trying to figure something out on their own.  It typically comes fairly fast with dogs.  Most dogs don't have a huge level of patience for it.  Luke use to get very mouthy when he couldn't figure out a new behavior.  Elsa gets mad, probably because she is so smart that she "gets" stuff so easily that when she can't figure it out it just makes her mad.  My daughter's new puppy leaves, she shuts down; if she doesn't get it in a few tries then she's done.

So how do you get around frustration?  You use your human brain.  You have to break behaviors down into baby steps so that your dog can achieve success.  Some dogs learn quickly, others do not.  This does not mean that one is smarter than the other.  It just means that they learn differently and at different rates.  All dogs are smart, never met one yet I couldn't teach.  Oh, except one that had questionable brain damage after dying on the operating table and being brought back.  When I was asked by the owner if I thought that he had brain damage I had to say "most definitely."  Sad.

But a typical dog is anything but typical.  This is one reason out of a whole boat load why you should not use conventional choke collar type training.  What works for one may not work for the next.  You must be ready to adapt and help your dog to learn how they can best understand.  A few training clients left me pondering but there is nothing more satisfying than figuring out how to do it differently to help a different learner.

Breaking down a behavior is by far the most helpful tool when you are dealing with failure frustration.  They all get it but not all humans get the need to do it differently.  Stop the failure and you stop the frustration.  Now go train your dog.