Teachable Moments

Dogs (and people) don't learn if they are under too much stress. Trainers often refer to this as being over threshold (past the learning threshold) and under threshold (still able to learn), but it isn't as simple as just drawing a line. Lower stress levels and making it interesting help our dogs (and ourselves) learn. When things get too stressful (even if it is good stress), learning is harder.

To keep things teachable, we need to stay where neither of us are too stressed and we are still having fun. If we are working on a behavioural issue like not getting along with other dogs, we need to stay far enough away from other dogs that our dogs can still focus on learning. If we can't keep the stress level low enough we need to focus on keeping our dog safe and calming them down, not trying to teach anything, because they need support not lessons at that point.

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