Pie was so naughty last night, yes really naughty! I had arranged a session in Dunmow Park with a client that I have known for some time, luckily they do know me well! My dog was worse behaved than my clients!! How embarrassing is that? I am going to tell you about this as I think it is good for everyone to know that my dogs make mistakes too, often people think Border Collies are easy, and because, generally:), they do behave well, that my dogs are just easy! Well I have to tell you I do work hard at training my own dogs. I do love training my own dogs but also I need a dog that will help when my clients have a problem dog, plus my dog is an advert for my training! Well last night Pie was a bad advert!! Pie has helped a great many dogs over come their anxiety or aggression, he has a great calming effect on all dogs.
By the time I got home there was steam coming from my ears, honestly I am sure there was!! 🙂
It all started badly, Pie pulled me round the park, when off lead he immediately ran off to some children that were playing and joined in, licking them and dancing around until I got close enough to get his attention! A little further on and he fancied the look of a nice Flatcoat and disappeared with her and her owner! Again until I was in easier shouting distance!!! By now I was fuming with him, he was back on the lead while I trained my client and tried to concentrate on that dog, while my brain was buzzing with shock at my dogs behaviour! Fortunately Pie did his job work wise, the dog I was working with has dog to dog problems and Pie had a great effect on him, he was very chilled and we made some great progress with the dog we were meant to be training! My client left the park by a different entrance and I made my way to the car park, I could now think about Pie, and proceeded back to my car training him, doing downs and recalls etc, my mobile phone rang just as we were turning a corner onto the last field by the car park, and I forgot Pie for a moment as I fumbled to find the phone in my bag, (mobile phones are not good for dog training!) in worrying about the phone I did not notice the boys playing football ahead of us!!! Yes you guessed, Pie loves football, he was gone, like a rocket, I shouted he ignored me and joined in the game! The boys loved it, they soon saw they had a new play mate and started including Pie in the game! It was about now the steam started to come out of my ears!! I had to get right up to Pie and get hold of him, it was like I was on another planet! I then proceeded to do some recall training on the lead near the boys, but really I was to cross, and having made a bit of a point with him, I took him back to the car, where he said no I don’t want to go I like it here, I picked him up, and if he weren’t so big I would have thrown him in the car!!! I drove home, it is many many years since a dog of mine made me feel so out of control, I decided the best place for Pie on arriving home was his crate, I do not lose my temper with dogs, but I knew I was on the edge and if he had put one foot wrong I could have lost the plot and do something I would regret! So there he stayed until after my dinner and my last client had gone that evening, some 3 hours, I had got things in more perspective by then at last!!
Here are my thoughts and reasoning, not excuses for him. As a dog trainer I have to analyse what goes wrong with other people’s dogs everyday, now I must apply my skill to my own dog in a big way! Firstly my angry response, Pie has been to Dunmow Park several times, either when I have been training him or working to help other dogs and has always behaved impeccably, my expectation of him was high and so I felt badly let down and disappointed in him. Were my expectations unrealistic? Maybe.
Secondly, I thought about his activities and behaviour over the last week, what had led up to this behaviour? Well last Friday I had my cousin Cheryl come to stay with her 3 children and her little dog Annie (a sister of Betty’s from an earlier litter), plus my the rest of my family were visiting us all, so for a great deal of the time from Friday through Monday there were 5 children and 5 dogs running round the garden playing, football was pretty high on the list of games, Pie is really good at dribbling and taking the ball off of people! I was busy catering and generally attending the business of hosting, my dogs had little attention from me, and it was so lovely to see them all having such a great time together, children and dogs had a ball (excuse the pun) really just running wild:)! So in the park, in his mind he was just doing what he had done last weekend!
On top of this since Betty has arrived Pie’s training has taken a bit of a back seat as I give most of my time to educating Betty, work has been busy and 2 weeks ago Magic arrived in the front paddock. Magic is a little pony belonging to Adam and Ian (of Barnards Bridge) that they rescued and I am having him to stay to see if I can help him with his issues around trusting people, this means Pie has had even less training and next to Betty of course he looks like the grown up and a really good boy. I know that because of these distractions the attention Pie has had from me has been all the soft stuff, I have over indulged him, unconsciously, to compensate for the lack of training. He has had more cuddles than ever, and all privileges of rank like the scraps from dinner, free tit bits just for being there and so on.
Now, as I thought about all of this build up, I could see that last night was the outcome of a build up, even a well-trained dog needs more continuity than I have been giving Pie, I have let him think he is very important, stopped treating him like a dog and instead over indulged him, just like my clients do:) I am human:). Once I could see all this I realised it was my fault and I have some work to do to get Pie back on track again. So if you are over Dunmow Park and see me out training Pie you will know what is going on:), but first we are out in the garden with that darn football to get some control back!! Followed by inviting my nephew and niece over for some Pie distraction training, he loves children, which is great, but he has to know he must come to me, not run to them!
Have you felt your dog let you down? Have you worked out why? Let me have your stories please? I do think by sharing this information we can help each other don’t you?