5 Reasons You Should NOT Train Your Dog When You’re Feeling Poorly

For those of us who love training our dogs, it can be difficult for us to justify taking time off from training.  But there are some really good reasons to NOT train your dog if you are sick, tired, sad, or just generally feeling poorly.

DSC012721.  Enthusiasm & Excitement.  Enthusiasm and excitement are a big part of training.  Sure, depending on how we are feeling, there is some amount we can fake.  But your dog knows.  Don’t go into a training session you want your dog to be excited about if you aren’t excited about it too.

2.  Energy.  This ties easily into the same line of thought as reason number 1.  When I train my dogs, I want them to give it there all.  I want energy and stamina.  So, again, if I am not able to give 100%, how can I expect 100% from them?

3.  Focus.  Let’s face it, the truth is, it can be VERY challenging to focus on a task when you are not feeling well.  Don’t take on the challenge of trying to improve your dog when you don’t have the focus to mark and reward to your best possible ability.

4.  IMG_5401Emotions.  The best training sessions start and end with a happy dog and trainer.  But, if you are not yourself, even a great training session can end with a disappointed, frustrated, or deflated handler.  It doesn’t matter how many times you say “Good boy”.  If you’re sad your dog will know it.  He just won’t know that it isn’t related to his training session, and that it isn’t his fault.

5.  Confusion.  Criteria is easily one of the most important aspects of training.  However, it is one of the first to slip in the event that the trainer is tired, distracted, ill, or otherwise “off”.

Don’t set back your training.  Take the day off.  It’s okay to just take a walk with your dog or give him a stuffed Kong and call it a “Rainy Day Schedule”.  In the long run, your training will benefit much more from your day off, than from you trying to push through a bad day.IMG_2318


20 thoughts on “5 Reasons You Should NOT Train Your Dog When You’re Feeling Poorly

  1. Excellent advice. Since training with you at Club Doggie, Matt and I have really learned not only how to better train our dogs but how to do it properly, which includes when we aren’t feeling crappy. I’m guilty of getting too frustrated and having to walk away…sigh!


    • You are soooo incredibly patient with your animals. I love working with you. And I am so flattered that you feel I have helped both you and Matt become even better at training your dogs!


  2. You are so right, you can’t fool your dog. He’ll know when something isn’t right and may attribute it to something he’s done.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Cathy, Isis & Phoebe
    Dogs luv us and we luv them


    • Very true Julia. I almost wrote a 5 Reasons flip side to this post, but I’ve seen more training sessions drag the dog down than help a handler up when the trainer isn’t feeling like themselves. I think, ultimately, the person has to be able to determine if they’re in the type of funk that a training session can lift them out of or if it’s too severe to be helped that day. I can tell that for myself now, but it took some trial and error 😊


  3. Excellent advice – as soon as we start a training session and I notice Laika’s focus is dependent on me and my own enthusiasm. For the days when I’m feeling badly we stick to some basics rather than full training sessions.


  4. Excellent not-training-today tips! I would add one more tip, for the sake of the dog… Don’t train when the dog is feeling poorly. I have quickly learned with my new hound to judge his moods as well as my own. If either one of us is not feeling the focus, then the time is probably being wasted and we should just call it a fun day!


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