Much ado has been made about reading your dog! Advice is often followed by the disclaimer, “… but you have to read your dog.” Well, what does that mean in real life, in practical terms, in application. Why is it important? When is it important? What if I don’t do it? How do I know if I am reading my dog properly? What’s the downside if I don’t read my dog properly? What's the upside if I do read my dog properly? If I'm not doing it (or not doing it right), how can I learn how to do it right?
Why is it important? It's everything. It's reading the dog in the moment
and getting the right correction or lack of correction in at the right time, and it's reading the dog over time and getting the right course of action over time.
When is it important? Always.
What if I don't do it? I could be reinforcing the wrong thing or taking the incorrect approach thereby contributing to bad habits, hindering progress, and being unfair to the dog
How do I know if I'm reading my dog properly? I guess if I see progress after whatever I'm doing and whatever course of action I'm taking.
How to learn? I don't know, I guess seek qualified
tutelage and practice - the same way I'd learn anything else.
Last time I was handling Gladys she was going off course, she's so fast I stopped her when our trainer pointed out she was about to correct herself so I stopped her for doing right. D'oh!
Sometimes when she seems stuck I think she's confused and he disagrees and says she's doing what she wants. I don't always agree with him. I feel torn because he knows more but she's not a lazy dog and I think she's just confused. I want to step back and teach more whereas he might want to ramp up the correction/pay attention more. I suppose that's why I'm in Junior land and he's in Master land.
ETA: Last time we had this debate I did step back and teach more and she did progress, so maybe there are ways to get to the same spot, I imagine my way is slower, that's ok