It is my job as a trainer to have a goal for the session and evaluate how I need to alter what we are doing and break it down so that the game we are playing becomes more clear TO THE DOG. It really doesn't matter how much sense something makes to me if my dog does not understand what we are doing.
I think so called "failures" can be my best friend because it shows me where we still need to work or where the dog just doesn't understand yet. The dogs behavior doesn't lie, it might not be what I want to hear but it doesn't lie. My dogs are great workers and if they don't get something, it means that I have not created a great enough understanding, or value for the task, period. But that is OK because I can always fix that. It is a bit freeing to train and not be too worried when there is a mistake, it is just all part of the process and more information to me and I do think my dogs have learned it is no big deal to make a mistake so they don't panic either.
So this is my full training session from the other day. There is some good training and some mistakes, but we made progress and I got more information, so I'm good with that ;-). I was trying to keep Katy working with me and not taking off on victory laps or taking off for her own party. Her favorite game is retrieve and I felt like maybe the answer to this problem was to work on some self control, asking her to come to me or to do a task BEFORE getting to retrieve her toy. I wanted to increase the value for her coming to me, and make working with me as valuable to her as retrieving the toy. I was not sure Katy was going to be able to do this and I knew it would be challenging for her but I was pretty sure she could do it.
I had such fun watching her figuring it all out, she is such a smart girl. This is the whole training session without anything cut out. she did great and she quickly caught on to the game, which is awesome because this game can make her really over the top but she was able to work at thinking and still have fun. Not an example of perfect training but we had progress.