confidence

I feel like Loki’s confidence has taken a hit over the past few weeks.
I’m not sure what’s caused it. I’m not sure if he’s getting burnt out, even though we don’t train every day and he’s had a few days off in a row here and there and we have plenty of breaks during our training, and he always gets rewarded (pretty much)…
I’m not sure if it was that time a few weeks ago when I was doing sequences with him and to try and make his toy more exciting I threw it down on the ground, but when I watched the video back it looked like I was really angry and throwing a tantrum or something and now maybe he’s scared of making me angry…
I’m not sure if the dog walk has changed too much over the past couple of weeks and so he’s worried about it…
And I don’t mean that just his dogwalk stuff is showing a lack of confidence… there’s a few things.
Like how he keeps pulling off his wraps that I send him out to do before the dogwalk. Does he not want to do the wrap because the dogwalk comes after it? Does he not want to do the wrap because he’s worried he’s doing the wrong thing?
Or like how the other day we’d done some sequences and instead of bringing me his toy to play with & have another go, he took it away and laid down. Had enough, he said. I gave him a break from sequences for about a week after that.
Even at home, he just seems more flat – not that he’s ever been a dog like Lumen, who is sassy and naughty all the time. He’s always more likely to settle down and sleep, but he’s sort of ‘fading’… Is he not enjoying coming to school with me any more? Does it stress him and the stress is affecting him? He spends 80% of the day sleeping on a coach while he’s here so you wouldn’t think it was that bad…
I try and be very calm and cheerful when I train him – after all, he’s awesome. My rewards are always genuine, even if something goes wrong. And if he misses a DW hit or something and doesn’t get a reward, I quietly walk back to start again. I don’t feel like I put unnecessary pressure on him that’s going to be making him worried.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just talk and tell us what’s wrong so we could fix it for them?

Breaks my heart that he isn’t obsessively loving training right now. I suppose that means I should give him a few weeks off, but I find this SO hard, especially “in the middle” of something. I’m in the middle of weaves. I’m in the middle of DW training. I don’t want to pack it in now & come back in a few weeks and have taken steps back, or for him to be MORE worried about the DW because he hasn’t done it in a few weeks! And I’m trying not to view his “possible first trial date” as some kind of deadline and just enter him if he’s ready or not if he’s not, but it’s still there in my mind.

But maybe this is all in my mind and he’s fine, it’s just his BC seriousness has surprised me again. That’s what’s almost driving me more crazy. Am I making something out of something that isn’t there? Is there not even a problem but I’m making one up. Gah. Maybe we both need a few weeks off.

Edit: The more I think about it, the more I think it’s anxiety/pressure from the dogwalk making him less keen. If I want to do wraps around trees, or do some jumps or tunnels, or some weaves, he’s usually pretty enthusiastic… but once we do dog walks, he sort of ‘fades’. Hmmm… so I don’t know… do I keep working to build up his confidence with it? Do I stop training it? Erg. 

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2 thoughts on “confidence

  1. iffebim says:

    My first idea would be to ask Polona, haha 🙂
    My second idea is to really give him some time off of any equipment agility…or at least do way more other stuff than agility. I read on Rosanne DeMascio’s blog that she recommends only 10% of the time you *actively* spend with your dog should be agility training. That is a good rule I guess.

    • Em says:

      I have asked Polona but she hasn’t replied. Don’t know if she hasn’t seen it but I’ve written like 4 comments in a row & don’t want to seem any more impatient.
      I try and do a lot more hiking/hanging out with my dog than agility though doing RC means we’ve been doing a lot of that lately. Andreja suggested maybe something physical was going on but it’s hard to tell.
      I did some shaping games with the up-ramp as he seems to have a lot of anxiety going up (going down is ok!!) and he seemed way happier to hang out on it after that, so maybe he just needs convincing that it’s not evil.

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