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Tomorrow’s Brilliance

Posted on 08/16/10 26 Comments

We just wrapped up another 4 days of camps here at Say Yes. Thursday & Friday it was Advances in Dog Training followed by Saturday and Sunday’s Critical Elements for Sport and Life (formerly puppy camp so lots of puppies here but no longer restricted to puppies). Lately we have had some super people here at camps but all of the instructors agreed, the group this past weekend was something special.

It was a very large group, with auditors and participants we had close to 40 people here every day for four days. Often when the group size gets that big it can get scary. Not this crowd. Tons of excellent questions. Questions that enriched the experience of everyone around. Really a great group of campers.

Here is a quote I put up on the last day. Before I explain my thoughts, Β I am going to leave it with all of you to see what you take from it.

Let me hear your thoughts.

Today I am grateful for the enriching environment created by the people supporting each other at camp this past weekend.


  1. Beth says:
    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 12:55am

    Susan, Emme and I “really” enjoyed the relationship building skills that we have learned. This is my 3rd dog that I have started with at Say Yes and it keeps getting better everytime. The group of people that we had at this camp where so much fun and helpful. And it just wasn’t only agility people so we had a bunch of different views and goals. I can’t wait to go back for the next camp. Today I’m thankful to Lynda for helping me to breath and relax during training. πŸ˜‰ lol!!


  2. Glenda says:
    Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 11:15pm

    The best decision I have made to make my puppy’s future brilliant was to attend Advances in Dog Training and Critical Elements this past weekend. And Susan is right – my fellow participants were brilliant and smart and added so much to my learning experience. And I’m not sure where Susan found the energy to put on such a stimulating learning experience so soon after arriving home from Nationals, but I’m glad she did.


  3. denise says:
    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 1:43am

    For me the quote means:

    That everything we teach our dogs/puppies, deliberately or inadvertantly, has an impact on the dog they will be in the future. We should keep this in mind with all the decisions we make. Sometimes we take the “easy” option with our dogs right now instead of the “right” option which might involve more work. It’s the whole “reason for people’s lack of success is their willingness to give up what they want most of all, for what they want right now!” Zig Zigler


  4. Mary M says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 10:24pm

    Reminds me of things like….

    I see a cat outside, grab a puppy (Tala) and run outside (okay wait for a sit and release to gain access to outside πŸ˜‰ And go work the distraction….instead of getting hung up on one failed attempt from her today (as posted on the recallers day 13 exercise!)
    ….not that I am not needing feedback on my training still regarding the distraction/over-arousal stuff, but I embrace the moments in my time with her (and all my dogs) to build the reinforcement for the correct choices she/they can make πŸ™‚

    Great timing on this post,



  5. mtrebino says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 10:10pm

    This reminds me of another one of your sayings that I repeat often as I am always doing it..
    We often sacrifice what we really want for what we want now..I think often with puppies we tend to do just that..Margie


  6. Gale says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 9:19pm

    Your lessons are taking a smart puppy to brilliant! Her intelligence scares me! πŸ˜‰

    Dogs love to learn; it’s their job and duty to bring joy and humour to our lives. It’s our jobs to educate them and bring joy and challenges to their lives.

    Life without animals is not worth living.


  7. Bobbie Bhambree says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 8:12pm

    Jan, that’s fantastic! Susan is always saying “be a student of your dog’s responses.” That also includes anticipating reward-able behaviors and planning how to reward that pup. How can we be a good student of our dog if we’re not prepared both mentally and physically?

    Perhaps that’s what I am taking from the quote.


  8. Jan Vlasak says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 7:18pm

    I’ve just returned home from “Critical Elements for Sport and Life” with my new pup, Fetch. Lots of great energy from the instructors and fellow students.

    I could kick myself (hard) for every time I miss an opportunity to reward my dog for good behavior. So… before you take your dog out, always have treats in your pocket and/or a toy within your grasp.

    It has happened several times today at home where I ran out to the garage or down to the basement with my pup offering many great behaviors which went unrewarded. I have now put small containers of treats, and strategically placed tugs, all around the house/garage so that I quit missing her moments of potential brilliance. OR… the pup shouldn’t have been up and about!!

    Another “pearl” from camp is to improve on my transitions out of balance breaks (play to work) to maintain a “keen” arousal.
    It never ceases to amaze me how much “training” can happen in your daily routine (if one is prepared).

    I had a GREAT partner (Sandra) – THANKS!

    – Jan, Brio, & Fetch


  9. Heather McLeod says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 6:17pm

    With an overwhelming number of month’s…I’m grateful to have caught up today with so much information to focus on with my gang. With lot’s of fantastic video’s , and reminders…to keep us on the ball. With 2 puppies…I’m also grateful for my daily decisions of Crate Games, Shaping & Tugging, and the use of a Release Word in a crazy household! Time to get to work on more Foundations Skills which will come very easily!



  10. Andrea says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 4:55pm

    I think it’s like I’ve heard a smart person say – it’s putting money in the bank. Every good decision you make for your puppy today is like putting a $1 in the bank. It might not seem like much today but keep making good decisions and 2 years from now you have thousands and thousands of dollars. Letting a puppy bolt out the door to the backyard because it’s convenient may seem easier today but imagine what you’d have if you made the decision to have him sit and wait for a release. Every decision we make with a puppy is an investment in their future.


  11. Sherry Antonishen says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 4:52pm

    The quote made me think about not my decisions but rather my puppies’. We were doing restrained recalls in a park with a few moderate distractions. After our first two he went back to the restrainer all on his own, and turned himself around to face me and waited. He was delighted when the restrainer put his hands on him which meant another game of chasing me down… He did this two or three more times. I was astounded by his choice and made sure he was severely reinforced. So the quote made me think about the interconnection and interplay between the decisions both me and my dog make.


  12. Jodi Altman says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 3:58pm

    When my instructors insisted that mediocre crate games weren’t good enough for my puppy, I reluctantly worked hard to make them better. Now when I confidently leave my 2yr old BC at the start line with a 4 obstacle lead out, I’m glad I listened.
    Thank you SY instructors.


  13. Teri says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 3:27pm

    For me the quote means that the past is the past. We don’t need to make excuses for behaviours, we don’t need to wallow in past bad decisions. We do need to make the change today and look forward to the new positive results that will come from that change.


  14. Judy Cormaci says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 2:24pm

    The decisions you make today, or choices in what you train and in how you train your puppy, will affect the dog, its performance, and its working attitude in the future.


  15. Barb Stanek says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 2:17pm

    All relationships are two way. If I “just don’t have five minutes to train today,” I just can’t complain about my dog not doing what I ask! This program is helping me find that training time in a life every day! My dogs thank you!


  16. Melissa Myers says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 2:04pm

    To me it goes back to the number one rule and priority which is to have a great family pet and number two rule, be careful what you are reinforcing or what you allow to be reinforced. What you think is cute today, or no big deal, or just part of being a puppy (or a BC or an Aussie…or a rescue..or ) might be the biggest issue(s) you end up dealing with when training your dog in the future because you allowed that limitation into your thought process.


  17. Sarah Stremming says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 12:54pm

    It’s so easy to let your puppy get away with a bunch of CRAP…but if you INSIST on impulse control, awesome play drive, and work your butt off teaching them that you are the access to all reinforcement, your puppy will grow up into a brilliant performance partner or pet who actually gets MORE freedom due to your control of resources.


  18. Lee-Ann Carr says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 11:08am

    This reminds me to have self-control and maintain criteria with my dogs!


  19. Ann Lyons says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 10:56am

    I think it is all about building a strong foundation.
    Dogs are learning everyday whether we are aware of it or not. Building a strong, solid, valuable foundation is what will get us through times of stress. When stressed, we subconciously revert to our foundation – both human and dog.
    Everything we do and DON’T do today will affect our foundation.
    Man – that’s deep! Well if you choose not to do anything, at least have FUN with your dog and take joy in the moment!


    • Marlane says:
      Monday, August 16, 2010 at 3:56pm

      Absolutely on the money……I will add from life’s experience both with our canine and human partnerships solid. well thought out foundations build bring absolute peace to the soul and everything around us!!!


    • veronica says:
      Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 4:15am

      My feelings too.
      “in a nut shell” you summed it up quite well.
      Lucky ( unlike us) our dogs live in the moment.
      Thus so forgiving when we get it wrong.


  20. cherry brewster says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 9:05am

    First thought was to think about how this ties in with Patience

    Second thought was how the sum of all those little moments adds up to be so much bigger than the parts.



  21. Kathleen says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 8:51am

    ALL of my actions today with my dog will shape how my dog acts in the future.

    I try to always think about what and how I am re-enforcing whatever my dog is doing. Also what I do when my dog responds or does not respond to me or when we are playing together.

    I work to be consistent in my responses and try to not relax my criterion.

    Try to think about what I am doing today with my dog and the level of performance I will require in the future. My future goals shape what I train toward each day.


  22. Esther says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 8:39am

    1st thought : Change “your puppy’s” in “my” or “your childrens”…
    2nd thought : the power of Now
    3rd thought : if you open up to what your dog teaches you every day, you learn an awfull lot about yourself.

    Love from France,


  23. labrador4pat says:
    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 8:38am

    Definining moments: yesterday, at camp, when puppy did not want to go into her crate, with supportive instructors behind me, I actually recognized a don’t wanna don’t hafta moment and held on until she went in. (And Lynda was right – she had to pee!) When we arrived home, puppy was anxious to get inside the house to see her big sister; I wanted her to pee. It was another don’t wanna, don’t hafta, and I held on again and she peed before getting the reinforcement of her sister. I had several epiphanies at camp, and this was one HUGE one, already transferred to “daily life”. Thank you.


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