...in so many ways...for so many things. As a dog trainer, I see all kinds of things as I coach people in training their puppies and dogs. Something I have to remind myself of sometimes and something I try very hard to communicate to my students is that muscle and knowledge is built during rest and that rest is as important as active training time.
I love a well-trained, tuned in dog!!! But I love my dogs because they are just that, dogs! Not people in dog suits, not working machines, not robots. I want to provide the best possible life for them and that includes my training plan. How best can I train them keeping in mind our goals? And rest is an important part of that training plan.
In my classes, I will tell folks to do an exercise with 10 treats or for 1 minute or in a round-robin sequence. Then I will tell them "give 'em a break." And that's exactly what I mean!!! Let your dog be a dog for a minute or two, let the information sink in and process in their brain. Remember muscle and knowledge is built during rest!!!
And while you and/or your dog might be chomping at the bit (so to speak!) to keep working, understand that rest is working too. Understand that just like we need "me" time to do what comes naturally, dogs also need "me" time to be dogs. And giving this to them makes them better dogs overall! I am constantly amazed by the learning process and I love it when we work something, take a break, come back to it and it's bigger, better, and stronger!!! The break time gave the dog time to process, time for it to sink in, time for it to become solid in their brains.
I can hear folks now -- "but my dog doesn't want to take a break!!" What makes you say that? Is he hyper and only behaving when you are "working?" Does he act like a dog and sniff and scan his environment when he's supposed to be at "rest?" That is him being a dog!!! Not all dogs relax like humans (couch potatoes catching up on the latest episodes of "Desperate Housewives!") -- for many dogs, sniffing and checking things out IS relaxing. If it makes you feel better, teach your dog to settle or relax and bring along a stuffed toy or a chewy for your dog during this time. This will force you to allow downtime and it will give your dog an opportunity to be a dog.
Think about this, if all you did was learn and work all day, every day, what kind of person would you be? What would be your disposition? Would that make you happy and fulfilled? I doubt it. I am pretty confident you spend some time almost every day, relaxing and "being a human." This is what keeps you sane, right? So do the same for your dog during his time with you. It will enhance your relationship, strengthen your bond and help both of you be better.
|Ditto -- relaxing at a trial.|