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How To Handle a Bad Day

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2013 Walk for the Animals

Another Walk for the Animals has come and gone.  It’s a great feeling to have the support of friends and family, generously donating to a cause that I love.  The weather couldn’t have been better; nice and cold so we didn’t have to worry about heat stroke.  How could anything about this day be bad?  Well my walk partner Maddie had more than the usual number of reactive outbursts which was frustrating and disappointing.

The day was not a total write off.  We were able to sit for our pack photo without incident.  I had a few conversations with friends accompanied by their dogs without any reaction.  While I lamented over several reactions with small dogs and dogs running in the FunZone, we recovered with a nice walk along the river just the two of us.  When we were done, we said our goodbyes to our friends without incident and called it a day rather than pushing our luck.

Ironically, when I came home, I read a Facebook post from a fellow dog trainer proclaiming she was “guilty of bad dog training”.  I actually laughed out loud because I know she is an outstanding dog trainer.  The reason I’m sharing my setbacks with everyone is because we all have room for improvement (even dog trainers).  We all can do things better.  We all have good days and bad days.  The good thing about positive reinforcement training is that although your cues, markers, timing, rewards, etc. may be way off, you are not going to do anything to ruin, traumatize, or hurt your dog.  My fellow dog training friend is going back to foundation work for her sport with her dog, and I will go back to some threshold work with Maddie.

People often ask me how Maddie could have possibly earned a Canine Good Citizen Award with her reactivity issues.  I always smile and tell them that it only represented a thin slice of time and everything just happened to fall into place that day.  So if you encounter a bad day when things fall apart, remember that it only represents a thin slice of time in your dog’s life.   There will be better days.  On this day, with the help of my friends and family, we raised over $1,500 for the Humane Society of Broward County.  That’s a victory by any standards!

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2 Responses

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  1. Excellent article, very true and well stated. We have all had those moments 🙂

    Marni

    March 29, 2013 at 10:53 am


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