Lyra 4.5 months - I Want My Good Puppy Back

Right now, Lyra has about one great session for every three mediocre ones.  There seem to be several things going on.

For starters, she's teething.  I think that makes her feel a little off.

She is also in something of a fear period.  I can't work her in the dark because she thinks the boogey men come out after dark.  I have tried working her through that,  but recently I realized that she needs to sit and stare into the dark while I give her the occasional cookie.

Dogs barking in the distance upset her and critters rattling in the bushes are to be watched carefully.

Smells are...fascinating.  It feel like she's just disovered how fabulous her nose really is, and she can't get it off the ground.

Until yesterday, I was trying to work "over" these things.  That means trying to be more exciting than what is out there.  But then I realized that I was working too's not my job to get more and more interesting when she's distracted.  My job is to be interesting when she shows the interest and ability to work.  If I start begging, pleading or demanding, I've reversed our roles and I'll be begging or demanding for life, so last night I vowed to relax and let her work through it herself.

What a difference!  After ten minutes of Lyra sniffing, worrying and visiting, I started to see glimmers of my old puppy.  We spent about 25 minutes together, which was just enough to remind me of what I tell other people all of the time; "Patience, grasshopper."

Today we had a really really great training session. Where's the video camera when you need it?

No way to know what the next session might look like, and in my head I know it doesn't matter.  I just needed my head to remind my heart.


Kat, Holly & Bri

Bri’s about to hit that stage, so this advice is a must remember!

Melinda Wichmann

Thank you for this post! I’ve been there and slowly learned the hard way that it needs to be my dog’s choice to interact with me, not because I’m suddenly “more interesting” than a cat or a squirrel in response to the dog’s obvious distraction or fear. I don’t want to be trapped in the role of having to be “more interesting” or demanding or forceful for the dog’s entire life and performance career.

I’m happy to work hard to bring enjoyment and reward to our training sessions but no way can I compete with a cat or a squirrel, no matter what I try.

Thanks for all your great posts and merry Christmas!

Peggy Langdon

I have been following your training with Lyra since your first blog entry and am enjoying the learning I take away from your work with her. This post was delightful. It was nice to hear of your struggle, the insight and the subsequent breakthrough.

Helen Gruenhut

Yes, you have to think about, “What would I tell a student, with this not problem?” Dogs have to take time to grow up and take in the environment.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family; and that outstanding son.
You have done more than an awesome job with Lyra. I look forward to the New Year with the two of you.

Mary Craven

“But then I realized that I was working too hard….it’s not my job to get more and more interesting when she’s distracted. My job is to be interesting when she shows the interest and ability to work. If I start begging, pleading or demanding, I’ve reversed our roles and I’ll be begging or demanding for life.”
I really like the statement above. Does this philosophy lead to the dog being interested when you want her to be, e.g. at a trial?

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