accomplishment ACE Adopt the Internet Day advocate AKC ALIVE Andrea Arden APDT attention aversives Be the Change for Animals beagle beds Bianca bibliophile birthday blessings blog hop BlogPaws board and train Boston Terrier bullied by the blog C-WAGS C.L.A.S.S. call to action CCPDT CDSP certification Certified Pet Dog Trainer change chapter 1 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Christmas Cincinnati click and treat clicker expo clicker training coming when called commitment common sense communication competion coupon cpdt CPDT-KA craft crisis response Dads Daisy decisions dog shows dog training dominance Easter economy emotions empathy equine Face of Crisis facebook family focus food Fortunate Fido Frames of Mind fraud Gardner giving goals group class harness holy week house guest humanity Husker Ian Dunbar individuals instinct integral internet Jade Jean Donaldson joy K9 Chaplains K9 Comfort Dogs Karen Pryor Ken McCort Lake Township Lana Mitchell learning learning theory leash aggression life experience lifestyle training living positively mama beagle Meagan Melissa Alexander minature horse Morgan Specter Mr. Chewy mule Nevada Humane Society Never Shock a Puppy normal Northern Illinois University Open House openminded opportunity pack theory Parents of Murdered Children party Patricia McConnell peace personality pet blogger challenge Pet Blogger Hop Pets without Parents Philadelphia polite greetings POMC positive reinforcement positive reinforcement clicker training precious priorities product review puppies puppy class Rainbow Bridge Rally Obedience relationships relaxing research review rewards routine safe versus dangerous service dogs SPA sports stress success Sue Ailsby Sweet Spots Doggy Ice Cream TDInc. teacher technology The Clicked Retriever therapy dogs thinking time tools tornado toys training plan training tip travel tricks twitter unconditional love video work in progress

Monday, July 11, 2011 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.


24 Paws of Love said...

Excellent thought. It is so easy when my dogs are training well to want to keep going and going. I find rest so important. Even a day of it sometimes can make a difference for both of us.

Thanks for the great info.

Pup Fan said...

Great info... thanks!