One of the comments on yesterday’s post brought up an interesting question: how long do you keep working a dog who doesn’t show much enjoyment in training for a particular activity?
That’s a hard question to answer without knowing a lot of specifics but here are some thoughts. These are all assuming, of course, that you’ve been able to train with a knowledgeable instructor who recognizes how your dog feels about things and that you’ve sincerely tried some different training methods to build a good working relationship.
It’s really hard when your partner doesn’t share your enthusiasm for the activity, no matter how hard you try. Although I’d like to believe most mentally and physically sound dogs could achieve at least basic novice titles in either obedience or agility, the fact remains there are some dogs who are just not cut out to be performance dogs at any level. For whatever reasons, these dogs would truly be happier at home on the couch or playing ball in the back yard without the demands of remembering anything more important than when supper is served.
It’s a tough call. Your journey with your dog is yours and yours alone. It’s not something you can let another person decide for you. Given that an instructor told me my first OTCh. dog would “never amount to anything,” I learned to rely on my own sense of what is the right thing to do and what is not. It comes down to how much time and effort you are willing to put into building a training relationship and how many resources you have available to help with this.
Some things to consider:
Is the dog’s quality of life being improved by the training interaction? This might be the most important consideration. Kind of like the Hipocratic Oath, first, do no harm . . .
Is your goal to show in whatever venue you are training for or are you happy taking classes and playing around at the park?
If you want to show, what level of achievement would you like to reach (just go in the ring, qualify and get titles, get class placements, get High In Trials, be on the World Team?)
Are you in a position (financially, family support, time, etc.) where you can add another dog to your family? Then maybe the uninterested dog could be retired to happy pet status and you could find a more engaged partner if you really want to compete in dog sports.
Coming tomorrow: the tale of the Evil Psycho Killer Bunny.