Relationship Truce

Wow, am I ever excited. It is going to be a tough week because I have a ton of stuff I want to share with all of you BUT on top of that, I have Greg and Laura Derrett here this week, so I will be a very busy teaching our biggest camp of the year. A challenge, but I am going to try to do it all!

If you have been following along with the blog recently you know I have been writing about and debating about how, or if, a recall is related to the “relationship” you have with your dog. Here is the thing, I don’t want to alienate anyone from getting help from me because of my choice of phraseology.  I am hereby raising the white flag. No need for anyone to defend their own opinion on the matter.

Even in the most ridiculously rude criticism of each of us, our work or our beliefs, there will always be nuggets for growth available provided that we don’t trip over our own self importance while on our way to rallying people to our “side” of the fence.

So thank you to Nancy for drawing my attention into an opportunity for more growth (not that I felt what you directed towards me was “ridiculously rude” or anything).

Here is what I have discovered over the years of teaching seminars; yes I know, in my own enthusiasm to help every dog I meet, I have, on occasion, hurt the feelings of the person holding the other end of that dog’s leash.

If this has been you, please know, I realize that your tears where not badges of martyrization. However looking back they may have been necessary for me to alter my approach in order to help the next person.

At the risk of sounding altruistic let me state my ultimate goal in life is to help as many  dogs as possible to be better understood. The more people I alienate the less opportunity I have to meet this goal.

All behaviours have their consequences don’t you know.

Thus, I hope those of you that met me at a seminar in the mid ’90’s would find a different presenter today. I am not saying “I have arrived” and my people skills have me in line for sainthood . . .  but I do know I am making great strides in the right direction.

I recognize that not all people learn the same way, that is why I continue to try to come up with different ways to present the science behind the dog training.

So why am I so excited today? I am excited because while I was getting ready for the trial this past weekend it hit me. All of these comments about recalls, relationships and reinforcement; good, bad or indifferent made me recognize we have a BIG problem here. I mean universally.

There are A LOT of people with recalls that need help. I don’t just mean the obvious, those unfortunate few who have had to bare the embarrassment of having a dog that would not recall away from; a group of dogs or out of a pond or to stop “zooming” around the agility ring.

But more than that, this recall discussion got me examining all of my dogs’ recalls. Yes my 3 year old Feature as well as my  13 year old Buzz.

What about you? Do EACH of your dogs come when called every time, no matter what, the FIRST time you call?

I am thinking there are a lot of people that can use some help and this has kept me up at night.  More to come (I hope this week between camp sessions).

Today I am grateful for all of you that, after reading this post today may be looking back and wondering why you had to be one of Susan Garrett’s sacrificial lamb on her way to learning lessons about the best way to reach students:).

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