Dogs are allowed to have bad days

Husky mix dog sleeping on sandstone in the shade

I think we sometimes forget that dogs are living sentient beings, or at least that what that entails. We seem to expect training to result in a constant upward curve of success. Often it feels like that upward curve is normal. We progress, we progress, we progress and then bam! Our dog just stops performing.

There are a lot of reasons this could happen when you’re training your dog. Sometimes we increase difficulty constantly and our learner gets frustrated. Sometimes we try to make things too difficult too quickly. Sometimes we don’t communicate well or we unintentionally set up the dog to fail.

But sometimes, our dogs are just having a bad day. Just like us, they have days where they may have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. They have days where their motivation is just lower. They have days where they are more easily distracted. Dogs are not robots and we can’t expect them to perform like robots.

Don’t get discouraged if your dog is having a bad day. Instead, change gears. Stop training and play a game. Go outside for a fun adventurous walk. Just put the clicker away and commit to meeting your dog where they are today.

If you do see your dog having a bad day on a very regular basis, along with other changes in behaviour, it goes without saying that you should see your veterinarian to rule out any medical cause. But one bad day, even a couple in a row, once in a while, isn’t something to get frustrated about.

Let your dog have a bad day every now and then. We all have them and when we have a bad day, it never helps if others get frustrated with us.

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