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One technique for handling errors


What do you do if you ask your dog to do something and he or she doesn't do it?


There are actually *lots* of options. Which one is best may vary at any given time and with any given dog.


In this video, I am just doing a routine "progress report" type of video to see how we're doing. This is a young dog, about a year old. It's actually the same dog as from that "Incorporating Play into your Training," from a few weeks back. Now she's successfully weaned off of her play and treat rewards as you can see!


All is going along swimmingly until about 0:45. There's a nice "down." Then she breaks the "down-stay." Then when I ask her to lie down again, there is a lot of fluttering around and non-compliance.


With this sort of non-compliance, she is still engaging with me; she is still happy to be with me, she just doesn't feel like lying down. It's as if she were saying "Oh, we've done enough haven't we? The down is hard and let's just go play...Please...?...Please?"


For this type of thing, it is usually best to simply repeat your command, firmly. Not meanly or harshly, but, "We'll play later, now we are lying down." Do you see how I don't falter in my insistence that she lie down? It's a gentle insistence, and not physically forced, with a very clear hand signal. 


Here are some things I did NOT do:


1) Immediately grab a treat, show it to her, and lure her down with it. This is one of the biggest training errors you can make! What this teaches a dog is "If you don't do something, then I will get you a treat."

2) Push her down with my hands or pull her down with the leash. This is another serious training error and teaches the dog "You don't really need to listen or try, because I will just come along and put you in the correct position myself."

3) Get annoyed, angry or flustered. This does not help and usually makes dogs prefer not to work with you. Think of teaching a young child how to tie his shoes. You don't get mad whenever they mess up. You just patiently instruct them through it.

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