Avoiding Burn Out
To get a thinking dog... only train 2 or 3 days or times a week
Once a week works just as well as 2 or 3 days of lessons
Never train more then 3 days a week
Dogs, just like people can experience "Burn Out" from over working or over thinking an exercise or situation. Burn out in dogs happens when a dog becomes confused about what is expected of them or when they get bored from doing the same lesson over and over again.
Dogs who work often with a high drive or those who are under a great deal of stress can show signs of being burnt out by becoming hyper-active. When this happens the owner may think the dog is trying to be the best that they can be by overacting when in fact the dog is struggling to stay up to par. Some breeds are prone to becoming hyper while others will flat out refuse to work. They may head out the back door when you pick up the leash or disappear under the bed.
Burn out does not only happen to dogs who work or are under stress, family pets who are kept in a back yard all the time can become as bored as a dog who is walked on the same trail day after day or worked on the same obedience lesson day after day.
After awhile of the same ole thing, the dog either lowers its head to go along with the owner's wishes or the dog shoots out the door saying, "what's else is there out here" either way the time has come to do something different.
Burn Out in Search and Rescue dogs who are training or working happens when the dogs are worked to often or pushed to fast in training. Do not skip lesson steps.
A dog does not remember the lesson any better if they repeat the lesson more then 3 or 4 times. Actually after about the 4th time the dog begins to operate in an automatic mode which is fine for winning an obedience trail but for disaster or emergency work we want your dog to be a thinker.
To get a thinking dog...and avoid burn out in your dogs then follow these tips.
Hold all food or water away from your dog for 20 minutes before and after training to avoid an upset stomach which can be mistaken as burn out or unwilling to obey.
Even on hot days do not water your dog right before or right after working the dog to the point that they pant or the tongue is out. Wait at least ten minutes and only give a few handfuls of water then allow the dog access to water 10 minutes later to avoid an upset stomach (they can not tell you how the tummy feels).
If your dog is overheating before the 10 minute time limit then put water under your dogs underarm(leg) area, splash water behind the ears and on the stomach to cool down before allowing a drink of water.
Only train 2 or 3 days or times a week.
Change the location.
Train one day then skip a day or two then train a day or two and skip a day.
The day off is called a day for the dog to soak in what is taught.
Give the dog a day to think of the lesson or longer if you want them more motivated.
If your dog gets bored, Skip 2 days or 3 days of training and try to make the time more fun for your dog.
Skip a week every now and then and your dog will look forward to getting back to training instead of dreading the next lesson.
If your dog gets hyper, skip a week and change the lesson. It is best to go back a lesson later and change the lesson or finish on a good note.
Once a week works just as well as 2 or 3 days of lessons.
Never train more then 3 days a week.
Only train for 30 minutes each day with your dog. Set up of tracking trails may require more people time and during set up the dog should be resting in the car or house.
Do every lesson until the dog really is doing the lesson well for a week or 2- 3 days (lessons) before moving onto the next lesson.
If the dog does not get the next lesson then go back to the previous lesson until the dog is sure.
This training is never rushed and search dogs require one to two years of training so no worries about not training enough!
Never get mad at your dog for not getting a lesson right, search dogs are always right!
Enjoy the lessons and let your dog have time to soak up the information !
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