This is going to be a random collection of thoughts about Education.  My series in my newsletter entitle “The Good Student” has, a bit like, Ruff Love, gotten some misinterpretations that I want to clear up.

I do not condone abusive teachers or instructors that tell people to do things “just because I am the professional.” Yes there are many instructors that step over the boundaries. I believe teaching is much like dog training. If that is true then if:

“Your dogs are a reflection of your ability to train.”

Then likewise I believe that

“Your students are a reflection of your ability to teach.”

Just as we should be learning from our dogs as we train them we as instructors should also be learning from our students. I will follow up my “Good Student” series with what I believe is a “Good Instructor” as well. It should be a journey. I know I for one am not the same teacher I was ten years ago and I hope in ten years time I will still be learning and finding new ways to help my students bring out the best in their dogs.

If you have an instructor whose style is to never build you up, to continue to tear you down and if they are happy to publicly ridicule you, then I would have to agree even a student with the thickest skin would not be able to tolerate it. Nor would I think you will find a way to do your absolute best in such an environment. Your mental game in particular would suffer massively under the constant tutelage of such a coach

However, my suggestion is that in order to grow you must allow yourself to fail, to open yourself to learning through the discovery of your limitations. I did not suggest anyone will grow under the tutelage of abusive. But I am suggesting if you get “your feelings hurt” it could be that you are misinterpreting a message or the delivery as abusive.

The truth is in my own teaching many students only hear the challenges I put forth and close their ears to any praise I give. Leaving my sessions thinking “she is too tough to learn from.” Be certain you are not miss judging your coach but also never be afraid to have a private conversation with such a coach and explain your thoughts and feelings before you walk away from the opportunities to learn.



First from yesterday’s blog a question came up; should you question your instructor’s philosophy? My answer is absolutely!

You should always be able to question your instructor about why they think a piece of their training is important. Take their reasons, go home and chew it over and decide if it sits with your philosophy of how you want to live with your dog. If it doesn’t ask her if she minds you approaching the issue your way.
Although I am very strong in my belief of what works I am completely open to looking at new ideas. However in issues of philosophies people are pretty convicted. For example if someone came to my class and wanted to start punishing dropped bars, I would do my best (and I am pretty convincing) to show them the downside and the historical evidence of the fallout of such a practice.
However if someone came to my class and chose not to give their dog a time out for breaking a start line or leaving a contact early I would allow them to carry on, if that was something they firmly believed would work. Do you see the difference? Personally I don’t think either situation would be effective dog training. I would try to help my student see why I believed the way I do. But I would be more inclined to allow the “non punishment” experimentation in dog training to go on then the one which is going to exact punishment I feel will be subjective in its application. Most philosophies develop from experiences and challenges to that experience. Any instructor should be able to articulate why they feel theirs is important.
I leave you with this awesome video that Daisy Peel recently posted to her blog. I think the question of education should be continued. I have some more thoughts I will share with you later.

Today I am grateful that all of you are willing to sign your name to your own feelings on education.