For this month's Positive Dog Training Bloghop, I want to tell you a little about the retrieving games that I play with Shyla, trying to make them more challenging than simple retrieving. It was very easy to teach Shyla to do a simple retrieve because it's written in her genes!
In our new game, I place Shyla's toy between her and me. Of course, she expects that I'm going to ask her to "bring it" to me.
You can see that not retrieving is stressful for her. A tongue flick, like she did as she passed the toy in the next photo, is a subtle sign of stress in a dog.
On a later repeat of our game, she was already tongue flicking while she waited to hear what I'd ask her to do. She wants to do the right thing so much that she worries while waiting for my command.
The stress signals also tell me to keep the training games short and fun. Now that's a happy looking Shyla!
I think that Shyla is a poster dog for the type of personality that absolutely needs to be trained by positive methods rather than by harsher methods. I believe that a lot of Shyla's growth in confidence comes from the positive training games that we play. However, I think that most dogs flourish with positive training. Indeed, I have to pose the question: Is ever fair to teach a dog something new by punishing them for making mistakes? My heart says "no".