Thoughts are what trigger emotions, and unless you are being remote controlled by one of your electronic devices, you are in charge of what you think — and therefore, what you feel.
An emotional response to, '“Damn dog is blowing me off again” or “This is humiliating” will be very different from thinking, “How can I better support her understanding of my expectation?” or “I love this dog so much!”
This where the assumption of good intentions leap into the conversation.
Unless you are Miss Polly Perfect, it is much more likely that your dog’s so-called failure to meet your expectations is due to YOU. She wasn’t trained well enough for the conditions, you are being a Hot Freaky Mess, your cues got all stiff and weird in the ring, and so on.
If we assume good intentions of the dog — that she is doing her very best with the information and training we have provided — it is hard to be frustrated and disappointed with said dog.
However, we must be careful not to transfer the negativity to ourselves. Holding the dog blameless while mentally beating ourselves up for being an imperfect human being keeps the bad vibes in the training relationship.
FYI: An imperfect human being is the only kind there is. Are you a robot?!
You, the imperfect human being, are doing your best. Assume good intentions of yourself — your dog already does.
When we remove all that negativity in our thinking — about the dog and/or ourselves — we transform our training.
I have the ability to manage my thinking — and therefore feelings — around goals and expectations but even more, I have Perspective — and that is the real secret to keeping Life with Dogs infused with joy even when we miss our mark.
Oh Zoey — how I wish I could have one more hour with you.