No matter how prepared you are, no matter how much you screen your training places, no matter how great your treats are … one day you might have a bad session.
This could be due to your dog having a particularly bad day or due to external circumstances. Maybe an off-leash dog ran up to you or your dog got very scared by a loud noise.
It is frustrating and upsetting to have bad sessions. You may feel as though you have taken many steps back and have to start all over again.
If this happens: Take a deep breath. Take your dog home and give him something delicious to chew. Have a cup of tea yourself and some chocolate and relax. Try to not fret about the bad session too much.
They will happen. Yes, they will set you back a bit. But at this point you have worked so hard to build positive responses that you won’t undo all your work in a single unfortunate incident.
You should take two days or more off after such an incident so that your dog has a chance to completely calm down before moving on (and you as well!).
I strongly advise against wanting to fix it right away and taking your dog back to a trigger within hours of a bad event. Chances are he is still “high” on his adrenaline and stress and the session won’t be very good at all.
You are welcome to share your experiences of bad days below. Just keep in mind – they are not the end of the world and they do not undo all your work!