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Resiliency in our K9 Partner





What to listen for:


Today, Stacy, Robin, and Crystal talk all things resiliency in our dogs.


They kick off the discussion with examples of lack of resiliency in detection work, including slowing down or checking out. This is often when the handler starts to over-direct, sending the dog further down a vicious cycle of learned helplessness.


Our hosts agree that play is the best way to teach resiliency, because playful activity minimizes stress and anxiety, builds confidence, encourages problem-solving, and improves concentration and mental stamina.


They go on to share their thoughts on different breeds’ genetic disposition to resiliency and how to work around your dog’s particular characteristics and personality. They also explain how to build that creative problem-solving muscle while they are still a puppy to give them a powerful foundation on which to build resiliency as they age.


“We get so focused on getting to the end goal as fast as possible,” says Crystal, “that we fail to lay those foundational building blocks.” A great handler is not afraid—and in fact, knows that it’s essential—to introduce failure into their training. This means making training scenarios progressively more difficult, increasing in difficulty slowly but surely, and tailoring training to the specific dog.


“You can build resiliency,” agrees Robin. “You just have to take it a thin layer at a time, just like Teflon coating.”



Key Topics:

  • Examples of the opposite of resiliency in a dog (01:12)

  • Preparing your dog so work environments seem underwhelming (05:34)

  • Resiliency issues around problem-solving (08:15)

  • Why to not become “wedded to the hide” (11:26)

  • Why play is the most effective way to teach resiliency (15:48)

  • Why confidence alone doesn’t lead to resiliency (21:17)

  • Introducing failure into your training (25:59)

  • How resiliency and fluency go hand-in-hand (33:24)

  • Teaching your puppy to be a creative problem-solver (38:47)

  • The resiliency of the handler (44:22)

  • Selecting a resilient puppy (46:16)

  • What to take note of when looking at the breed’s history (53:27)

  • Our biggest takeaways (56:25)



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