Dylan is a good boy. He walks beautifully on lead and never strays very far from me when we’re out and about - I don’t have to worry about that. This wasn’t always the case, by the way 😏 He was quite challenging as a pup and we’ve done a LOT of work together.
However… Yesterday, he decided to make a little bit of mischief. It started when he found a HUGE animal bone - an absolute jackpot in his eyes. Not only was it delicious, he’d also found it himself, which activated his inner scavenger and he was in doggy heaven. If I’d found the bone first, I could have turned it into the highest value training reward EVER, but alas, I wasn’t quick enough.
I have some tricks that I use when I want him to drop something he shouldn’t have, but on this occasion, nothing was working. I know this dog very, very well and I know when I’m fighting a losing battle with him. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I need to think outside the box.
So what did I do? Instead of flapping about trying to get the bone off him, increasing the value even further and turning the whole thing into a game, I just stopped and let him eat the thing. Controversial eh? I watched him closely to make sure he was safe, but he’s eaten bones before and I know he’s fine with them. When he was finished (and rolled in the remnants for good measure), he was quite happy to carry on our walk and then go home for a sleep.
Sometimes, we need to pick our battles. Adding more stress and tension to a situation can make it so much worse. And it’s ok if sometimes you don’t ‘win’ - life isn’t a contest and having an ego doesn’t help.
If you can, step back, take a deep breath and don’t sweat the small stuff 🐾