Know when to throw in the towel

Sometimes you need to know when to give up. It’s a gorgeous day today and I wanted to take Inara for a nice hour-long walk. Wasn’t in the stars though. Within 10 minutes she was pulling (on her Gentle Leader), ignoring me and getting really over-stimulated about everything. She couldn’t have cared less that I had hot dogs with her name written all over them. I was really getting salty at her. So I had two options:

1. Insist that we walk for an hour and get the exercise, though it would have required me jerking on her and yelling, thereby undoing all the progress she’s made.

2. Give up and just go back to the house.

I chose option 2. I realized my temper was short and her stimulation level was sensitive today. So we turned around and headed back to the house, getting in at least a few good minutes of training at the end. To keep myself from getting angrier at her antics, I just kept talking to her in a high, fun voice, praising if she so much as twitched an ear in my direction. We made it back without me killing her.

We’ll try again later today, or maybe just wait until tomorrow, depending upon both of our attitudes. I’d rather keep our relationship solid than force us both to do training that neither of us can handle at the time.

Remember that throwing in the towel is sometimes the high road you need to take when training.

Wishing she were back outside, behaving like a good dog!
Wishing she were back outside, behaving like a good dog!

3 thoughts on “Know when to throw in the towel

  1. Isn’t teaching loose-leash walking hard work?

    Ginger and I are still working on it, and it’s slow progress! Walking outside is still too stimulating for Ginger to concentrate for extended periods of time. Our current routine is to work on loose-leash walking in the front or backyard for 5-10 minutes, up and down the block a time or two, and then not worry yet about loose leash walking on our walks. Of course, Ginger’s only 30 pounds, so we can get away with this routine. We do use a front buckle harness, (The leash attaches at the middle of her chest.) so, when she pulls too hard, she ends up just turning herself around to face me. Sometimes she spins herself around and then stands there, looking a bit confused.

    By the way, just found your blog and am enjoying it!


    Mary H.

  2. Hmmm… this is good advice. I’m often so annoyed at Iris’ behavior that I end up crying when I get back home. I need to learn when to let it go.

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