We train our dogs with obvious goals in mind. Each session we have represents a hopeful step forward towards a goal. Life however, is just not that simple. We humans have our good days and bad days. Days when we’re focused and alert, and days when we’re bemused and bored. Our bosses love us on Tuesdays and wonder why we still have a job on Fridays. Why should it be any different for our dogs?
I was watching a short introductory video on BAT, Behavior Adjustment Training, developed by Grisha Stewart, over at functionalrewards.com. In the video Grisha said something I think we need to be mindful of each time we work with our dogs; she said “Train the dog that you have that day.” While Grisha was talking specifically about the type of reward given (food vs. functional) a dog in a certain situation, I think this is a great maxim for training in general
Maybe your dog did a down stay at 25 feet yesterday and today he can’t muster 10 feet; maybe your fearful dog stayed close to you for a minute yesterday and today can stay for 30 seconds, and maybe your door dasher can’t seem to exercise the same restraint on Friday that he could on Tuesday; it doesn’t matter, all of these can still be successful sessions.
It’s up to us to recognize the dog we have on any given day and adjust our training so that in the end we have a successful session; even if it’s not the one we envisioned going in.