Lyra - 7 months

Have you ever had a training day where absolutely everything went right?  Where you wished every person who'd ever said an unkind thing about you could be there to watch?  Where you ended the work completely bubbling over inside with the excitement that comes with an amazing training session?

Today wasn't that day.

Everything went wrong, all because a perfectly well behaved Labrador was playing ball on the very far end of the park - a speck in the distance.  Lyra stood on her hind legs and screamed.  I tried waiting her out.  I tried engaging her with a toy.  I tried crating her and returning a few minutes later.  And when I realized I was getting angry, I stopped, and we went home.

On the drive back to the house, I acknowledged to myself that I hadn't worked Lyra in a public space for a couple of weeks.  I know that Lyra is highly environmental - training at home isn't enough.   Most important, I know that she needs to get out a few times a week, and that at seven months of age, my expectations for "work" need to be scaled way back when we are in public.

Still, I was dissapointed.  More in myself than in her, though in the minutes that she stood there and screamed I had some trouble remembering who needed to take responsibility.

We're back home and she's taking a nap under the desk.  Now I'm going to pick my son up from school.  Tomorrow we'll try again, with more fair expectations.  I won't bring any working equipment at all; just a few toys and Lyra.   Hopefully we'll have one of those days where everything goes right; where you wish every person who'd ever said an unkind thing about you could be there to watch, and where you end the work bursting inside with the excitement and  happiness that comes with an amazing training session.




I would not do that for several reasons not the least of which she’ll never be able to meet and great in a trial situation so I’d rather take that option off the table altogether. Same with people…if we’re working there is never greeting. I’m sure other people handle it differently and with success.


in this case it was the dog; she started it before they began playing ball.

Stephanie Colman

These are what I call, “I’m going to truck-driving school” days. ;-) I originally implemented the term (a reference to a favorite scene in the movie “Top Gun,”) when I’d find myself coming home from an especially challenging pet-dog lesson with a client. But I’ve had them working my own dogs for sports, too. One of those “tomorrows” will definitely be the day.

Kathie Dorn

Oh yes, I know EXACTLY what you mean.! 10 years ago when I first got involved in competition Obedience, my very small English/American cross Sheltie girl was at the top of her classes every single time and worked beautifully with me at home. Though just 10 months old, she was looking like a rock star so early on. So my wise instructor suggested I start coming to our club’s weekly park practices with her that they hold on a weekend day at local parks. She warned me to only expect 50 % exercise proficiency at these new places at first, and I didn’t believe her.. Well, we barely achieved 30 % proficiency for a several weeks!!! I was in total SHOCK. and rarely missed a single one after that little “lesson”. Being one of the most valuable learning experiences of my life, for the past 6 years, I became one of our club’s co-coordinators for these weekend buddy training sessions. That’s how important I have learned that these sessions are! We now also encourage folks with young pups to come for socialization, play drive work and to do baby go-outs to the gates, environmental investigation, recalls on long lines etc—————-as soon as their vaccinations are complete. It’s great fun helping one another and just being together with friends who love dogs and their training just as much as we do. Sometimes we even bring food to share, especially in the summertime.

Kathie D
Eugene, OR


Was it the movement of the dog that caused her to do that, or was it because he was playing with a BALL? jacky

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published