I was very frustrated with myself after yesterday's fiasco in the library. I was frustrated for several reasons:
- I assumed Talos knew more than he actually did.
- I put both of us in a high pressure environment by going to the library where silence is golden.
- I didn't prepare properly – I should have had more than one food toy.
- I should have spent a lot more time on Talos' settle before asking him to perform to such high standards.
- I assumed that Talos' size is indicative of his knowledge and skill. He's only five months old. He may be big, but he's still a young dog with only rudimentary skills.
Knowing the fault was mine, not the dog's, I was able to re-frame the experience and make a plan to improve his behavior. That's the main difference between the old-fashioned style of training and scientific, modern style of training.
Looked at with old-fashioned eyes, a trainer would say that Talos was being disobedient, he was trying to assert his will over mine, and that he needed to be corrected and shown that whining and playing were not appropriate in a public setting. That's not really fair, now is it? After all, I never taught Talos those skills; at least not to the standard of being in the public library.
My focus isn't on the dog's poor performance, but my own. It's not Talos' fault. That blame rests squarely on my shoulders. And I'm happy to take that responsibility. I cringe thinking about those trainers (and owners) who find it so easy to put the blame on the dog. What a lazy and cowardly way out!
I say man-up and train the behaviors you want. No sense blaming the dog for my own mistakes. I'm better than that. Talos deserves better than that. Stay tuned for more details on our settle work, there will be a lot of it in our future!