From time to time you will falter and make mistakes in human pup play. Mistakes really do help you learn, but they can be an unwelcome interruption to smooth relating with your Owner. It is natural for you to make mistakes; it's also natural for your Owner to be frustrated when you are not being the pup you and he envisioned. Much of human pup play is fantasy made real, and seeing the wheels come off the fantasy cart so to speak can be very jarring and unpleasant. Under the sections Master Learning I discuss how your Owner can handle your mistakes and do better than simply show frustration. In this article I will discuss the things you can do as a pup and person to ensure your Owner knows you mean well despite the occasional misstep.
Owners and Trainers ask pups to do things all the time. The way you respond, pup, can make a crucial difference to their confidence in you. The best way to respond to requests from your Owner is with a positive "I can do that Boss" or "I will do that Sir". The positive reply shows you are keen and committed to acting on your Owners wishes.
Of course, there may be times you will want to say no to your Owner. Saying no is always your right to do so. What is important when doing so is avoiding creating feelings that are uncomfortable or confronting. Neither you or your Owner want to be uncertain of what is going on with the other, or feel a drama is developing just because of someone saying no. To help you can respond to a request you want to say no to with a question. Be polite, be calm, and ask rational questions. Whenever your Owner is making decisions or demands you don't like, asking for his reasons behind what he is asking, his objective or goal is going to help you understand why it may be important to him. That information also lets you suggest other ways to get what he wants, hopefully including you getting what you want to.
Whatever you do, don't automatically make assumptions if you are uncomfortable. That can cause problems as discussed in the article Assume not. When saying no to your Owner always try to emphasise what you can do, rather than what you can't or won't. By emphasising your willingness and can do attitude your Owner can see you are being a keen pup, helpful, and not obstructive.
Keep in mind that your Owners time is valuable, so you had best not be asking him questions constantly. Sometimes you can find the answer you need with the resources for your training, or from your Trainer. Even fellow pack members can be helpful. You can defer some questions and take time to think about the questions, so that you can ask succinctly and with any other questions you might have in a short period. It is best to get your questions done in a half hour of a time out rather than every five minutes during play.
Feedback is important for a pup, as you want to know your Owner is happy with you. An easy way to get helpful feedback is to ask your Owner about specific things. Try to refer to experiences you have both shared, speaking about visible, tangible events rather than discussing vague feelings and anxieties. You can both then focus on that aspect of pup play and find a solution to a problem or introduce something new together. You can always assume your Owner means well pup, and asking about specific things shows you are paying close attention to what you both do.
The best way for your Owner to know of your active positive engagement in puphood is to tell him. Your Owner wants to know how you are doing, and you will want to tell him of your successes and how you are achieving results. A positive outcome in play can seem minor to you, but every little success or good pup time will remind your Owner he is doing well. You don't need to go into great details, unless your Owner asks for it.
You can effectively build your Owners confidence in you little by little by using positive communication as often as possible. You Owner also will enjoy being able to remember the good times you have had together and your successes as a pup, so never underplay those when talking to him. Be happy, be positive, and engage in a friendly manner and you have already gotten your Owner believing in you.