Frustration Vs Threshold

28 Nov 2021, 5:27 p.m. by Tracey McLennan

Have you been told on social media or in person that you must keep your dog under threshold? If you are anything like the people I often speak to that’s a real challenge isn’t it? Especially if you have a dog who is excited by scent. Sometimes they’ll be over threshold before you even know there is something exciting around. It’s tough, isn’t it?

I’ve certainly found that with my young cocker spaniel when she suddenly got hugely excited by one of our regular training spots. Excited to the point where all she wanted to do was go into the brambles and search for rabbits. At one point she struggled even to look at me.

One day, during yet another frustrating training session I decided that what I would do was let Ren go and sniff where she wanted. I had her on a line so that she couldn’t just take off, so I took her to where she really wanted to go and sniff. I thought that it might make her even more excited. I thought that I might have to carry her away from the spot. It didn’t. What happened was she sniffed and sniffed – and then was more interested in doing things with me. I read an article about racing greyhounds that suggested that greyhounds are more interested in chasing the lure if they experience less frustration about the lure. I think that’s what happened when I let Ren sniff. I stopped being a source of frustration for her and that made her more interested in me. Isn’t that fascinating? What you can you do to reduce the amount of frustration you cause in your dog while still keeping them safe? If you’re not sure, join my Facebook support group for people with high prey drive dogs and chat about it there. Here is a link: Join in on Facebook


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Hi - I'm Tracey

I am the author of Canine aggression: Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindess and compassion and founder of Best Dog Learning and Stuff Ltd. I specialise in helping people with dogs who have a high prey drive. I have an honours degree in Canine behaviour and training, am a Tellington TTouch practitioner, and an ACE Advanced Tutor. I am currently studying for an MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Training.

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