In the dog world, we call the language of Human “cues”

Cues.  Cues are so hard for Brito. He is struggling to become fluent in Human and I’m struggling to teach him.

But not always, which is even more frustrating.  If he’s relaxed and simply responding out of muscle memory, then he’s pretty fluent. But add several cues in a row where he has to choose the right option, or add a little environmental stress, or change the context just a bit and….he falls apart.  He looks right at me and nothing happens.  He does not understand Human on that day, or at least at that moment.

Why are cues so hard for him? HE SHOULD KNOW THIS.  But he doesn’t.  How is that possible?  The same words and signals that he has seen literally thousands of times.  How can he not be fluent?

I’m learning Spanish – I have a computer program that guides me along.

Like Brito, I was doing so well.  I was practicing every day  and amassing a sizable vocabulary.  I spent plenty of time reviewing lessons and holding myself to a high standard.  I want to become fluent.

And then, for three days straight, I started failing all of my reviews.  For no particular reason, except that once my brain froze up, my accuracy went from about 80% to 30%. Same words; same lessons.

The harder I tried the worse I performed.  I started dreading the “buzz” sound, and even the happy “bings” started to feel more like a respite from being wrong than something to feel good about.

I’m back to reviewing the earliest lessons and I don’t know if it will work.  I have never had an affinity for foreign language.  I’d imagine that those who learn foreign languages easily must think I’m just not trying very hard.

The fact is, all of this failure is depressing, which not only takes the joy out of learning, it makes my brain feel foggy.  And the more I fail, the worse I feel about it.  I don’t even want to try anymore.

My sympathy for the efforts of little Brito have gone through the roof.

He is struggling to learn Human and I am struggling to learn Spanish.  I get it. I really do.