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When we try something and we are prevented from reaching our goals we become frustrated.

If your trying to explain something, you try harder.

If your trying to make up time, you go faster.

If your struggling, you work harder.

Frustration is what pushes us forwards and allows us to adapt to the situation in readiness for next time.

When we are blocked from performing a behaviour that frustration leads to a change within us. Quite often we are excited about something, only to find an obstacle in the way and that further excites us! Other times we are excited about something and an obstacle presents itself which proves that we didn't really want the end result. Our excitement diminishes.


When our dogs are seeking to reward themselves with something we do not like, we can block the possibility of attaining their goal so that our dogs no longer want to seek the original outcome.

For example, rushing the door.

The door represents an exciting opportunity. Every time they get to go through the door they are reinforced and that builds momentum. Next thing you know, we have a dog that must go through the door at great speed. That leads to pulling, barking, snapping, dragging, wrapping and reactive dogs.

All that from an opening door.

Instead, we need to teach our dogs that the door is not a pathway to euphoria. That instead it is a pathway to enrichment. So we work patiently at reducing the motivation until they are able to reject the old habit of rushing through the door.


On the flipside, we can use frustration to increase the desire for an outcome. By blocking the execution of a behaviour we are building tension which creates a higher motivation to succeed. Call it a feeling of "nearly got it - next time for sure!".

Present some food to your dog for 3-5 repetitions, then tease your dog around you, then tease your dog through your legs. This is frustrating your dog into chasing the food, then frustrating your dog by encroaching your personal space. This is building the desire for the food in your hand. This lure you can then use for multiple behaviours. But the foundation lies within the initial expectation, then the heightened excitement which is motivating towards the lure then the heightened excitement of the aversive encroachment of personal space. All this is motivating and leads to a stronger lure behaviour. From which you can teach all Obedience skills and tricks and other skills!

The big difference is that through frustration and subtle adjustments we shape a dog who is joyful in their expression, which you cannot fake! If they look good they feel good!

Think of the picture below:

Here we have two dogs playing for possession over a stick. One dog has the stick and must maintain possession. The frustration of the other dogs speed and agility and desire for the stick increases their motivation to keep it. Obviously the same goes for the other player.

Frustration is inherent in all facets of life. Learning to adjust for Rejection and Motivation of the outcome is what teaches your dog lasting lessons.


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