I haven’t written much about our trainings in the last months because, to be honest, I struggled with Tadaas motivation. I haven’t found out yet what really drives her. Tadaa is the most settled dog I ever had. Nothing gets her scared, she is open and friendly with everyone and has no problems being and playing at different places. So she’s really cool, but in training maybe a little bit too cool. Nothing really triggers her. She can watch Halli in training, she can play, she takes food, but nothing to get her fighting for it. My friends have heard a lot of my troubles (probably too much).
So I looked back how I worked with Halli. And we had some struggles too. Low interest, low motivation, hormones and for me low fun. But I never gave up. As I trained his full sister Tvitvi and followed the training with his brother Mick I knew it’s in him. We just needed to find out how to get it. It wasn’t always fun, and training with a low motivated dog isn’t actually helping my motivation. I participated in Katarina Podlipniks online class «fun and motivation», which helped a lot, but still didn’t trigger everything he could give. I lowered my expectations and only played with him for several weeks. If I only knew that patience is the most important tool I needed to have.
I continued working with him, teaching him basics, teaching him runnings (and that was a struggle! who could know that there are dogs who simply don’t get the concept of targets!). He wasn’t much into food, but liked to play. So we rewarded everything with toy. And I guess everyone who tried to reward shaping RC with only toys as tool know how tricky that can be.
Nobody is perfect
I’m not perfect, my dogs are not perfect. But being ok with that I need to remind myself sometimes. Especially that I’m not perfect. Every dog is different, they learn different, have different needs, different drives. Even through I went threw frustration, and still do, I never gave up. I like to plan my trainings, but sometimes things just go in their own speed. Halli taught me that a lot.
Competitions are experiences too
A trainer once told me trainings are for building up and competitions can build down. As we sometimes are tempted to loose our criteria. And that has for sure a good point. With Halli is started to compete early because I felt with his trainings that he needed to grow with experience. He has shown me that I was actually right with this decision. He went quite fast through a process of a little dog who was eager in training, but insecure in competitions. Not going all in and not even daring to try (like his first competitions with contacts). I never had that problem before with my other dogs who were really easy and highly motivated from the start. But that was ok. I saw with each new competition that he grew, he dared more and he experienced that «oh, that’s the same agility we do in training». I wouldn’t recommend that strategy with every dog, that’s why I want to point out that this was for his needs.
New dog – new experience
So now Tadaa is almost one year old. We didn’t get to more to tunnels and turnings or two straight jumps. With her I needed to teach her to play first, then finding out that it’s worth doing something together with me. I annoy my friends all the time with my struggles, but in the end I guess time will show what she really needs to have maximum fun doing Agility with me. I’m not the type who is giving up.