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Old 12-05-2012, 11:30 AM
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Kimbers Kimbers is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Denver
Posts: 337
Default Giving up some control

Last night at our agility class, I realized that a majority of Kailey's drive issues stem from me trying to over control her. If she starts to walk away when we're not doing anything, I call her back to me and put her in a sit or a down. If she's getting distracted while we're standing around, I tell her to focus on me.
Yesterday, I just let her make her own decisions. I let her wander, sniff, and meet her friends. (If their handlers were willing.)
Completely different dog. When it came time to work, she was actually on. And she made really good decisions for herself, too. I had food in an open container on the ground, and she occasionally wandered over to sniff it. Just to sniff. She'd look at the cookies, look over to me, then wander somewhere else. I didn't give her any cues, she just made good choices. She was completely responsive and pretty driven when I did give her cues.
I'm really pleased that she knows how to make good decisions without me telling her what to do. I tend to be a huge control freak, but letting her be a little more "free", if you will, definitely took a lot of stress out of our relationship.

So how do you handle your dog? Have you found that it's better to keep your dog constantly engaged with you, or do you step back and let them make decisions on their own?
I think different degrees of each technique work with different dogs. Schaffer's much easier to work with when I keep him happily engaged with lots of little, easy tasks. But he and Kailey are polar opposites.
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