If you are somebody that truly enjoys training a dog, it can be tempting to do it quite frequently. Even if you are taking the dog to a professional trainer several times a week, you may still be tempted to do it at home every day and perhaps even multiple times per day. This can be beneficial for both you and the dog but sometimes, enough is enough.
When you are training a dog, there is going to be a time when they are ready for a break. Unfortunately, many owners miss their cue and the dog could end up getting very frustrated and stressed out. Quite obviously, this is not going to be beneficial when it comes to training the dog and could even be counterproductive. When you are able to recognize the stress in your dog, however, it is easier to know when to back off.
One of the best things that you can do to recognize stress in your dog during a training session is to look at the entire session objectively. When you first started training on that day, they were likely quite eager to please and would follow along with your commands and watch you intently. As the day wears on, however, you may find that their attention is lacking and they aren’t as quick to do what you tell them to do. This is actually a sign of stress and it is a clear sign that you need to take a break.
Yawning is another way that dogs show stress, although this is something that is often misunderstood. Human sometimes yawn when they are tired or bored but dogs will often yawn when they are stressed out. Perhaps you have seen them do this, where you give them a command and they immediately yawn back at you. This isn’t because you are boring; it is because they need a break. Be sure that you give them break that they need.
When dogs get stressed out, they may also begin to wander. This can be very frustrating, especially if you’re trying to actively train the dog and you find that their attention and their body is wandering off in weird directions. Don’t take it as them being disobedient, take it as a sign of stress and give them a break. A similar sign is for them to look away when they should be watching you or they may not pay attention to your commands when they are familiar with them.
Other signs of stress can include sniffing, rolling or scratching. If any of these things begin to happen during the training session, do yourself and your dog a favor and stop for a while. It doesn’t always have to be a long break, but a little break can go a long way in helping your dog to come back to the training for strong and ready to learn.