I have to admit that one of my biggest challenges as an amateur trainer is knowing the proper amount of pressure to apply when it comes to a reprimand. Just this past weekend we were at the beach, where we have an outdoor run behind the house. In most cases, Pritch will go in on a Kennel command. If not, she may mill around as if she hopes I’ll find something else to do and forget that I want her to Kennel. Normally, I’ll simply change the tone of my voice and she’ll follow orders.

Saturday afternoon, however, after a romp on the beach I gave the Kennel command as I held the door open. She took a few steps toward me, looked me in the eye, then did a 180 and hightailed it toward the front yard where my brother’s Goldens were getting hosed down.

For a few seconds I froze: Do I run after her and give her a hand whap while sternly saying “No?” Do I calmly go after her and then grab her by the scruff of the neck and drag her back, letting her know I’m not happy? Or do I take a deep breath and realize she’s six months old, and her faults may be ones I’ve unknowingly instilled in her?

Before I tell you how I handled it, I’m curious what you would do in this situation. (I’m hoping to hear from both the pros and amateurs who often comment here.) Do remember that we had just come from the beach where we had been having a bit of fun and not training. Also, this was Pritch’s first glaring offense when it came to the Kennel command, but it was blatant.