Rethink, regroup, start again


After a particularly hard morning walk I have to tweak Brian’s training (yet again). The main focus (so far) has been to make him safe and less scared of people. I’ve also introduced some rules hoping it would all go rather smoothly. It hasn’t.


The fear of people, the running away and avoidance have been replaced with reactivity. So, energetic playing, which was used to encourage Brian to be more confident is a bit curbed now. I stop it when he becomes a bully. And I do restrain him. I don’t react in any other way, just stop the behaviour (which sometimes takes up a lot of my time and energy). He’s seven months old and he’s trying what works, what doesn’t. Unfortunately, I can’t always predict what situation we’ll encounter and what he’ll come up with. He has started being reactive – and today he tried to nip at someone’s leg.


He won’t be aggressive -I’ll make sure of it. But I’m reminded every day that no two dogs are the same, that there’s no definite and infallible way of training, that dogs and people are individual and should be treated as such.


As Lily has her issues, she’s not always helpful-though in a non-stressful environment she can be a great teacher. I try to use her when I can, and rely on other methods when I can’t. I’m also very careful not to make her feel uncomfortable or scared. The faster I want something to happen, the slower I act (physically, not mentally).


Late Dr Sophia Yin has some great videos I’d recommend to understand the principles of the training that is low-stress and effective.

I have to find time for the most important things in life. Which means I need to give something up.

(That corpse you planted last year in your garden,  Has it begun to sprout?  Will it bloom this year?  Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?  Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men, Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again! You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”) no relevance to my post but I like ‘The Wasteland’ and can’t get the lines out of my head today (and: ‘hurry up, please-it’s time’)



12 thoughts on “Rethink, regroup, start again

  1. Spooky..I’ve been thinking about “The Wasteland” all day..and also
    ” I grow old, I grow old,
    I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled…”
    Prufrock..? Sometimes we need these reminders as the dog develops and tries new behaviours. Mum let my oldest son take Erin out for a walk, she was off lead and was approached by a poodle. She turned tail and ran…don’t know if it was the dog, Jamie or she just didn’t fancy a walk with him. She’s all right though, point being she’s never done that before!

  2. I love that you said ” that there’s no definite and infallible way of training”. I still struggle at times thinking we did this exact training in this exact location with these exact treats etc all the “variables” are the same so why is the outcome different (I’m a software programmer by day so it’s very easy to get stuck in that mindset) but I’m getting better at training for what happens in the moment rather than what I think “should happen” or I expect to happen. Wishing you all the best going forward with Brian’s training – with your help and dedication he has the best of chances 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re right that no two dogs are the same. This is the first time I’ve had a terrier, and she’s so strong and feisty. As she’s six years old, it may be difficult to retrain her, but we’re getting there in short steps I’m sure. Your dogs are lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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