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Can't or Won't

Posted on April 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    In dog training, one of the most critical aspects of training, is the ability to be able to read the dog.  And in reading the dog, one of the most critical aspects, is to understand whether or not a dog can't or won't perform a task or skill.  "Our corrections in training are for a lack of effort, not a lack of ability, and this is fundamental."-Mike Lardy

    Until this basic fundamental principle is fully understood, there is no amount of force or coercion that can be applied to make the dog perform a task or skill set.  As trainers, we all know that the dog must have bounderies, and must know what is a wanted behavior and what is an unwanted behavior.  But before this can happen, the dog must fully understand what it is doing wrong, and how to correct that behavior to make it right (desired vs undesired behavior.)

    In training we are constantly setting bounderies and expectations, and these set of standards let the dog know clearly that a wanted behavior brings pleasure, while an unwanted behavior brings the opposite.  But, before any correction can be applied, we must first understand and read the dog on whether or not it can't or simply won't perform a task that is asked of it.  If the dog can't, then we as trainers must back up and reevaluate what we are doing that has brought this on.  We must be willing to take a few steps back in the process, and link things together so the dog can fully understand and move forward.  Likewise, if the dog just simply won't, then we must apply a correction in a calm and proper manner, that neither damages the dogs confidence, or hinders its progress in any way.  The failure on our part to do this, can bring on a distrust in the dog for us, and ultimately hinder its progress and success in training.

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