Recently I was doing some math. I was looking at all of the dogs I have trialled in agility since I decided to train without physical or verbal corrections (that was in 1994). There is;
Buzz (born in 1996), DeCaff (born in 2000), Encore (born in 2004) and Feature (born in 2007).
Swagger hasn’t trialled yet so he wasn’t included in my data, but as you can see from the picture here, his start line training is well under way! This pic was taken this past weekend, I was walking a course and just left him outside the ring in a chair for 15 minutes. When I first put him there there was no one else around. Dogs and people started showing up after. I actually forgot about him after the first cookie reward. Although he did jump down to say hello to his friend Vince, other than that he was a model 6 month old puppy. Crate Games training has given him a great understanding of “do-not-move-until-you-are-given-a-release-word.”
So back to my math. If you consider how many times I have lead out from the start line in agility with all of these dogs. Knowing I never do a running start (I am just not fast enough) for every class I ran with these dogs, each of them was left at the start line while I lead out.
Now Buzz and DeCaff both had seven year careers, Encore so far has had six years and Feature three years. That is 23 years of leading out at the start line. With approximately 45 days of trailing a year and an average of 4 classes per day. That is 4,140 start lines I have lead out in agility without a dog breaking a start line. This doesn’t include the thousands of start lines I have done with these dogs while practicing sequences or doing jump grids at home or participating in workshops over the years.
Now I am not saying my dogs will “never” break a start line, after all they are dogs, but the stats so far are pretty compelling aren’t they? 4140 successes zero errors. I think the evidence shows that I have a good handle on how to train sit stays (or stand stays) without force right?
That being so, I hope you will agree with me that if a dog ever breaks a “stay” position, it is not he that should be given a verbal or physical correction because the dog is only a product of his trainer’s understanding.
So in the past at one of my workshops, when someone verbally or physically corrected their dogs I would go a bit nutso on them. I mean correcting any dog for breaking a start line is really blaming the dog because he wasn’t trained by someone that had a great understanding of how to properly use reinforcement in training right? It was unfair and I would always would jump to the defense of the dog who was taking the blame.
You can’t blame me . . . it sounds appropriate right? Well it does unless you are the student on the receiving end of my “verbal correction.” Chances are you were unlikely to ever return to another Susan Garrett seminar.
As an instructor, this is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Over the years I am certain I lost the respect of more than one student when I over reacted to their actions. Even though the trigger for me was anything the student did to disrespect their dog and my intentions may have been noble, the action I took did more harm than good in helping the dog know a better way of life.
I have several Anthony Robbins quotes I refer to on a regular basis. One of my favorites is this one;
“You can not influence someone while you are judging them”
I may not have it exactly right, but the meaning is clear; if someone feels you don’t respect them they are going to shut off from taking in your opinion. Now it doesn’t matter how talented you are, or how much good you have to share, it will all be lost the moment you disrespect the person you are trying to “help.”
Did I intentionally “disrespect” any student? No, I love to teach and I would never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings. The same is true of the student. They didn’t intentionally disrespected their dog. They are only a product of what they were taught. They likely came to my seminar wanting to learn more and I might have been able to have helped them but the moment I “corrected” them I likely lost their trust and faith in my ability to do so.
Amazing how life imitates dog training isn’t it? It always fascinates me when I see how life’s lessons transfer so nicely to dog training.
Perhaps Tony should have said
“You can not influence the behaviour of any animal while you are judging them”
Embroider that on your tug leash to read every day and see how it changes both your dog training and your everyday relationships with people.
Anytime you find yourself calling your dog a “bar knocker” or “shut down-sucky dog” or “out-of-control manic” you are judging their potential based on your limitations as their dog trainer. I know this to be true because I did it myself.
This also is true when debating dog training methodologies. All too often the differences between how you train and how you would like others to train is expressed as a judgement. There is no way we can open the eyes of those we would like to influence if we are throwing stones at them for the choices they are making. Difficult when we so want to help “their dogs” but critically important if we sincerely do want to help “all dogs.”
Today I am grateful for Speki and Buzz. Of all the dogs I have owned, these were the two dogs I “labeled” the most for their shortcomings. I now realize that these short comings were just a reflection of my limitations as their dog trainer and these dogs were only trying to help me overcome these weaknesses.
One of the really great things about dogs is that they do not want our regrets it doesn’t service any purpose to them, but our gratitude sure does.
I don’t think there’s one thing on the training blog that hasn’t been helpful. I have the backyard champions, followed by the under motivatied B/C and the total over the top Heading dog at trials, do most of my training with just a little help (translate: sometimes totally demoralizing for us all!) So finding so many really helpfull DVDs, books, and, the dog training blog has been a massive boost to my confidence and knowledge. Now into rethinking and lots of retraining.
Susan, my girls can’t thankyou enough
Thanks for your wisdom. It is so easy to play the blame game.It takes a bigger person to admit they are the problem. Great blog and great topic.
That was a powerful post Susan…one I will think about while “trying” to fall asleep tonight.
Once again you prove that is possible!! You influencing lots of people. For my part, the lesson that I have, by following your courses, is to don’t limit my self by what I think are my limits or the limits of the dogs…..Everything is possible. It is just a matter of finding the right way to communicate it to my dogs….Thank you again!
All living things are perfect beings. It is up to those who guide them in life to bring out the perfection.
“The best teachers are students first.” What I like about this format of teaching/learning is that there is dialogue and discussion, and for the most part an openess that allows me to think and consider everyone’s point of view and experience(s) as presented in written posts. They give me time to digest it all. As a retired college instructor after 20 years of teaching, I benefit from Say Yes blogs, Recallers and Puppy Peaks by getting inside peoples’ heads (based on their posts) and starting fresh in my own thoughts of teaching others to train their dogs (this town’s dogs sure could use a change in approach to their training!!!). So I’m enjoying reading all these post + and – too, because I’m really into thinking about the whole dog training “thing” and how I am able to “up” the quality of teaching and training that I see around me here in The Wild West of Canada. Susan’s approach and her openess and humbleness has FINALLY got to me, and I am now more focused on the + than the – of things. Susan, for me, has been like water dripping on a rock… me being the rock! I do love Susan’s attitude to things, but 20 years of nasty politics and hidden agendas had beat cynicism and negativity into me. I’m gratefully letting Susan and Say Yes be part of my healing and recovery from two decades of stinkin’ thinkin’ that was pretty much dumped on me, which is ultimately why I left. I am using Say Yes philosophy to regain who I was before doing way too much time in a really toxic environment. Even five years later, I’m seeing some vestiges of that negativity still remain in my thinking and attitude. Little did I know when signing up for Recallers (beta) that this was about a LOT more than training dogs! And I’m SO glad that it is!!! So yes, “The best teachers are students FIRST”. So everyone, keep the lines of communication open and kind. I think training dogs can be regarded as a “spiritual path” if approached with a certain attitude. Just ask the Monks of New Skete!!! I think we can learn a lot, if not everything, about ourselves through our dogs. And what a gift THAT is!
Excellent article showing us how our dog’s are a reflection of our consistency and training every day.
The only part I questioned was these to lines in the article;
“Over the years I am certain I lost the respect of more than one student hen I over reacted to their actions”
They likely came to my seminar anting to learn more and I might have been able to have helped them but the moment I “corrected” themI likely lost their trust and faith in my ability to do so.”
Actually the one time I was privileged to bring my dog to the seminar my dog did break a start stay and you did react. But it was the best thing you ever did for me.
I realized and began to analyze why you would react like that and figured out that consistency and repetition in this simple thing would enhance my training not only in this area but also speed up the rest of my training by thinking about teaching that dog and helping it learn. This was the best thing that ever happened to me and had you not overreacted I would have never have moved forward.
I did not lose trust in you faith and ability but sat up straight and said wow this is important and I need to think and work and apply this.
So in my opinion shock me and react to my actions so I can wake up and keep learning.
Just another SUPER DUPER blog.
I just love them all and so insightful as usual.
Thank you Susan for bringing all of the training and positive to so many people.
PS: LOVE PUPPY PEAKS,
another great post, thanks – especially for the insight into your methodologies as a trainer/instructor of other people.
Hi Susan, What an awesome article. We never (hopefully) quit learning and improving. That is what makes life such a wonderful journey. I have had my first agility dog, since she was 7 weeks old, she is now almost 2. She has taught me alot about training dogs. We have had a wonderful adventuresome journey. Molly has begun her agility trials and is now on her way. We have really come a long way as a team. What I have found out about her is how sensitive an aussie really is. She has heard my voice when it is frustrated and pleased. Of course we both know what she responds to the best. On one occassion when I was frustrated she actually went and hid. What a lesson I learned that day. Its not like I am easily frustrated but boy it did happen. It will never happen again, I will quit the session before I ever allow that to happen. We also do freestyle dancing and that just added to our realtionship in immeasurable way. Needless to say when we dont judge, and use understaning, praise and acceptance, things go much better. I firmly believe when Molly makes a mistake I have given her the wrong message. Anyway I can go on and on, you have a way of hitting the nail on the head. Awesome article.
This is so true! And I find myself starting to analyze human behavior regarding reinforcement and punishment since I’m so focused on that in dog training… and its affecting my behavior towards people…
What you said about critizising students reminds me of one of my riding instructors, she was getting mad at me and other students pretty easy and when that happened and she showed that kind of disrepected to us I just thought to myself, she’s nuts, had a bad day and wouldn’t really respect her as much as I used to do. On the other hand, when she was praising us and what she was telling us, we could understand, that was when I felt like I’d actually “learned”… She got calmer every year 😉
At one stage my dog had an aversion to the cloth tunnel, we were working on it. I entered him a jumping trial, the tunnel being the last obstacle!! He ran a truly fantastic run, (one of our best), when we got to the tunnel he ran around it!!. The amount of ‘good handlers’ that made comments such as “he needs a good kick up the ….” etc, etc.
My response was “what about all the fabulous things he did do out there”. I think they are still scratching their heads trying to figure why I wasn’t upset”
This is so true, and as a trainer I should put those quotes on the wall in big letters–to remind my students, but most importantly to remind myself not to judge the students or their dogs! Also, as the moderator of Truly Dog Friendly and admin of the facebook page, i often see discussions or join in discussions about the horrid methods of “other” dog trainers. we really need to discuss how to show the wonderful behaviors our dogs offer us rather than harping about how bad other methods are. We need to be models of good behavior ourselves. Thank you for this article, Susan. I am sharing it on TDF.
I searched out a better way to train my dogs and found positive reinforcement a couple of years ago. I had been working with a trainer who constantly criticized me and any dog I had that was not from his line. What REALLY surprised me was the disconnect between how some “positive” trainers bent over backwards to be positive with their dogs but thought nothing of harshly criticizing their students.
I am not criticizing these trainers because I know someday they will learn that the positive methods they herald for use with dogs will net them fantastic students once they apply those same positive methods to people.
We are all students and all teachers.
Oh Susan so true. I had the extreme pleasure of judging 80 4H kids in Rally in the middle of Wyoming farming yesterday. Their teachers may not have gotten them all of the rules correctly (some never having seen an AKC show) but you could tell the ones who loved and worked and partnered with their dogs and I tried to have something positive to say about every run and every dog to keep encouraging these kids some of whom were only 7 years old trying to man handle a lab around the ring. And I kept hearing Do land in my head. What are they doing right? What can they build on? How can I phrase a suggestion to help them do better. All the while my Service Dog Arkeo, was lying under the stewards table breaking that down only to alert me when I over-heated (her job) She was a wonderful example of what Do land could do because when ever I needed to show an example i would call her she had a brilliant recall and then would go back an lay down. Respect. No one was afraid of these uncrated GSD. Thank you Susan.
Susan, I am so grateful for what you have taught me and excited about what I have yet to learn..Every day with my 15 month old puppy I am reminded of lessons learned. I don’t always make the right decisions but seeing the puppy peaks videos tells me that we are not perfect and the biggest light blub moment is recognizing when we are not and just trying harder next time..
My Puppy has a teeter fetish…just a few years ago I would be in panic mode..now I am going thru the steps..ok if I train this will she stop doing the teeter on her own.. where is she getting the reward for banging that teeter..is this just a sunshine moment..I have not found the right answer yet but I am so grateful to have questions I can ask..thank you sooo much for that..margie
Susan thank you so much for this post. After being beat up all weekend on puppy peaks for voicing my thoughts,this makes me feel better and understand more.
Susan, Your yelling confession reminds me of my sister. She is hilarious. When she apologized to her neighbor for her dog barking, the neighbor said to her, “Listening to you yelling at your dog is worse than your dog barking!” Too funny. My sister stopped yelling! I labeled my Irish Terrier bipolar (she’s up, she’s down) I guess I’m up, I’m down with her! I corrected that today. Your method works – you helped me understand. The Irish love to play -I’m thankful for that, and for your help with play in training. My Standard Poodle thanks you too. Congratulations on your win.
I close my eyes and put my head on your body and win all the trials you do… sure beats any sexual fantasies! LOL
I wish I could compete, but right now my heart is having problems, so I am sticking to teach handling skills and 2×2 weaves to my 15 month old puppy.
Knowledge is King, and Susan is the Queen of agility. Go Queen go!
I left my dog and walked past the first jump, my heart pounding. I knew she would stay; that wasn’t the issue. No, my problem was one that spoke even worse of me…
I turned around, drawing a deep breath. I signaled and said, “Hup!”
And my dog turned tail and ran from the ring. It wasn’t the first time. Gesturing to the judge by drawing a finger across my throat, with an apologetic wave and an attempted smile that was more a grimace of disappointment and humiliation, I left to collect my dog.
How could this happen to me? I was a positive trainer!
Training that dog gave me an epiphany such as the one you experienced. In my overt actions, I was positive: I never struck or jerked this dog—she was clicker trained and never forced into position at any time. However, I know I used verbal corrections—the “Eh!” the “No!”—and I know that my body language spoke to her—the clenched hands, the tight shoulders, the drawn brows. And I know, deep inside, that my own drive and frustration came through to her, it oozed from my pores, it quickened my heart and my breath. There was too, too little joy for her, and I had created a dog who found it preferable to walk—or run!–away in high-stress situations than to play games with me.
Thank God for giving me the dog I needed.
I’m going to have more joy with my next dog, and I’m trying to use the same principles in my classroom, too…though admittedly, dealing with a room filled with twenty-two 13-year-olds is more difficult than dealing with a dog one-on-one. But…more joy, more kindness, less harshness, less judgment?
I can try for that. That’s a goal worth the striving.
Thanks for the honesty and insight.
PROFOUND!I really needed to hear this!
Teachers need to keep in mind they are in a position of authority. Their every word and deed carries weight. Last week when my 45 lb. super adorable, super friendly mix, after class, went up to greet the trainer, she pushed her away saying “I don’t like brown dogs.” Last night, when my papillon went off sniffing mid run, she said “little dogs, little dogs, you just can’t get them to focus”, (which is odd since my papillon has more QQ’s than her border collie)! And earlier this year, when I complained after class that she never watched our runs, an advanced instructor said “You’re boring to watch because you never make mistakes.” Not even remotely true, but odd that she only finds our mistakes, not our successes, interesting.
2.5 years of training with various teachers, and I’ve learned a lot from my own hurt feelings. Now that I’m a teacher myself, one of my vows is to watch every single performance of every single student, and be extremely careful with the content and the timing of my comments. I know they carry weight. There are ways to critique without criticizing. Every dog, every team, is equally valuable. Keeping the fun in the sport is a major point for me.
While we run sequences, for example, I avoid the common practice of stopping the dog every time it makes a mistake (knocked bar, bypassed jump, pop out of the weaves), subscribing to the concept that green dogs need to catch the “thrill of agility” first. They may be compliant, but they aren’t all convinced that this is fun. I’m so tired of being stopped mid-run by my instructors shouting “stop” or “no” or “go back”. My tactic is that learning to weave, follow hand signals, make contacts, clear bars, handle cleanly, are separate and prior exercises to learning to sustain a run. Is this right? It seems so majorly negative during a run to criticize every single error as it happens (for both dog and handler), except for breaking a start line stay (which occurs before the run begins).
I know there is controversy around this subject. I’d like to hear others’ views.
All so true–about labeling dogs AND humans. But oh so hard not to do. I love the quote you use “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” May we never stop learning.
Positive reinforcement is so crucial with students and friends, and all of us as animals, yes? Learning from our OWN mistakes is so important – I have several people I work with who took a seminar with the “yelling Susan,” and sadly, it did just what you said, shut them down from you and your great work. Thanks for sharing the process of looking at that and becoming that different trainer who applies positive reinforcement all the way around :). Oh how we all grow and learn, oh to the wonderful lessons of dogs 🙂
If you’re laughing at your own mistakes, it’s easier not to judge other people and your dogs. Thanks for sharing some really good life lessons!
This blog was definitely needed this am as I live with my two teenage daughters..this quote will now be plastered around my house for me to remember as I am tempted to do “corrections” on my children…as well as friends who have alternate methods of training their dogs…
Thank you thank you thank you!
Sorry, don’t know what URL means / is.
I learn a lot from your postlessons. People notice that on me. My dog is
enjoying your thoughts and your love
towards all training with dogs through my voice and my handling.
Thank you so much for making the lifes of dogs better by reaching people all over the world, like me in Holland.
Love your post and I have definitely been practicing “patience” in my training and how it really does pay off in the long run. Funny how people are quick to “verbally criticize” before they “verbally praise”. A little praise really goes a long ways. Thanks for your insights. There are so many things to learn.
This was quite an articulate and well thought out post, particularly given that it was a 3 a.m. special!
Ah yes, labeling…it’s a great way to close yourself of to new ideas, and to bring about the self-fulfilling prophecy effect.
For me the challenge is to differentiate between counter-productive labeling and (possibly more productive) recognizing that a given dog has certain built-in challenges that are part of their personality.
For example, how much of my own puppy’s fearfulness is part of her nature, and how much am I contributing to by “labeling” her as a fearful dog? Even though I *think* I go into every new situation with a positive “hey, this is no big deal” attitude, maybe my OWN underlying fear that it will be too much for her is still seeping through and affecting her. I sure seem to meet enough people who think that all I have to do is change MY attitude and suddenly all her fearfulness issues will disappear. Personally, I don’t think it’s that simple.
Anyway, wonderful post, Susan!
“the dog is only a product of his trainer’s understanding”
I absolutely love this quote and think that this needs to be tattooed on everyones leash/tug-toy/forehead! I would also love to apply this to children too and walk up to a parent spanking a child and say this quote! As the parent of a two year old little girl who has never been spanked, I can honestly say that my child is better behaved and more compliant than other kids I know who do get spanked. Certainly this shows that there is proof in using non-physical correction.
I grew up in Northern Ireland where physical corrections in dog training were “normal”. Thankfully my first Border Collie and I were very tuned into each other and didn’t get corrected for many things.
Over the years and with the patience of my instructor, I have learned to omit most verbal correction. I’m not perfect and sometimes an uh-oh will slip out, but it is more for me than my dogs.
One of my dogs that I am training right now is my biggest challenge that I have ever had but I feel that she was brought into my life to teach me something really big. Zen (who is very un-zen like!) is a 1 year old BC who became very reactive in the presence of other dogs, lunging and snapping which frustrated me so I lapsed back into verbally correcting again. We have been working hard doing crate games to work on impulse control and working on just being together to build our relationship. Due to the Texas heat, we haven’t had agility class for three weeks so last night when we went back to class, I felt that we had made great strides and I had a dog that wanted to be with me for the first time in a very long time. All verbal and physical corrections have stopped and instead she gets rewarded for making good choices.
Thank you for your influences on training. Zen is definitely now getting to her Zen-place 🙂
This entry was a goodie for me. I grew up with a mom who only yelled. That was my normal.
When I’m inclined to yell or “correct” it is my frustration and lack of comprehension. When I can play and be positive, it is because I get it and then can translate it to my dog.
I’m so grateful for the positive lessons.
Margo & Morgan
Hi, my Aussiegirl is 9 years young now.
She is the one left from three Aussiegirls.
She always is eager for training, all sorts of. Your post is very interesting
again and I’ll regard it every time I
am busy with my girl.
And I will tell this to other handlers being my friends. The quotes of Anthony Robbins are going to be on the wall in our Kynohome, together with your name.
Thank you for your love and enthousiasme for our dogs.
Thank you so much for this post! It was the first thing I read this morning and definitely what I needed. Thank you so much for inspiring me to be a better dog trainer.
This Tony Robbins quote, and your reflection on it really helped me see something clearly. My Golden (the first dog I’ve trained with positive training) did very well in classes as a young dog and I did tons of socializing with her. However, as we got more advanced, she became nervous in class, in vets’ offices, and basically anywhere there was a performance expectation. Since she’s been fine at home and in relaxed social situations, I knew it was somehow tied to my state of mind/being. I have worked on being calm, but had never considered the judgment aspect. After reading your blog, it hit me like a ton of bricks. She is nervous in situations where I am judging her, and where I feel judged on our performance as a team. I guess I have something new to work on. Thank you for the insight.
Nice post. You really do realise that everyone (people and other animals) is going through a journey in their life and generally they are not conscious of the “wrong” decisions we perceive them to be making. Our choices are not always the right or only choice depending on the circumstances which we may be completely unaware of. Show them another option that might help their life be easier and more enriching and at the worst you have only planted a seed for greater change further down the track. Beyond that just nag nag nag, its been found to quite effective in a recent study.
I loved this blog, I do better on this with animals than people also, and tim sums it up very well.
Wow this speaks volumes. I have a Westie male (almost 6 years old). He is still intact and I always wonder if he would be more focused if he were neutered. He has always been fairly “reactive” in the ring, starting with getting away from 2 handlers in the breed ring. For sure I will stop calling him The Loose Cannon. He has a habit of driving toward the next obstacle so it is hard for me to call him off. We trialed this weekend and I had to call him off a jump. Once I did that he seemed to ‘fall apart’. He had a great 1st half on the course. Once I called him off the jump, he started to wander/look for the exit. There is some ‘balance’ I am missing with him.
Wow !! I needed this today …both in my personal life and in my training .thank you !
How true Susan, and yes I have been guilty — of making comments similiar to the ones you mentioned — and although he may not udnerstnd the words — he certainly understands how I felt at the time — even when we say it in a joking mannyer — we really do so because we think it or fear that others think it and say it before they do.
INSTEAD WE SHOULD — not listen to what others say – we should respect our friend in a way we want a friend to respect us — and then simply get on with the job of working — united — accepting what needs work and acknowledging what has improved – and surely sooner or later — we will achieve our goals.
It is worth noting that the work is on BOTH of us and the acknowledgement of improvement appiies to both of us.
OOPS fingers — sorry about those typing errors — looking for an edit button — cannot find it.
“Anytime you find yourself calling your dog a “bar knocker” or “shut down-sucky dog” or “out-of-control manic” you are judging their potential based on your limitations as their dog trainer. I know this to be true because I did it myself.”
That is me to the T! I have a high drive reactive to male humans red & white BC who is also my fantastically amazingly fast FIRST agility dog. We are doing so very well but of course there are times when I just get so mad & frustrated and call him all types of names, when all he really wants is my love and to please me.
I laughed as I have said “bar knocking” dog before and “maniac scardey dog” before too but I have to remember to keep things in perspective and your post did just that for me! So Thank you!!!
What a great and insiteful post. Have taught for 30 years and know my approach has sure changed as I learned more as a trainer, teacher, judge, and competator.
Regardless of the venue Be it rally ob herding agility….I must remember this the next time a dear friend resorts to old methods of training. To not critisize her to shape success for her and her dog. Thanks for setting a possitive note to my daily training.
Thank you, Susan. This is not the first time I’ve been impressed by your thoughtfulness in applying your dog training philosophy to your human students also. That’s the main thing I think most of us who train both dogs and people forget to do!
WOW! This certainly speaks to my heart – from relationships with people to dogs. I’m sure we have all experienced the “verbal correction” from someone in our lives that was more wounding than healing. And I’m sure we have all done the “verbal correction” to others, as well. Ashamed to say I can remember “verbal correction” to my sweet puppy (he’s really 5 years old, but I still call him my “puppy”)and I could see the hurt in his eyes and demeanor. Although he recovers quickly, I know I lose a little respect each time. Thank you for this post and a jolt to the heart to be patient, put myself in the other person’s shoes (or dog’s paws), and to look within FIRST before judging or acting. Thank you, Susan!
My 3 year old Aussie is the first dog I have trained to do anything more than get in the truck, “Up” And to come “Let’s go”. I feel uncomfortable with correction so i love positive method you use and have found that it works for me and my, Riley boy. Although he doesn’t have a perfect start line stay, it’s pretty good. I have been learning how to train and what method I like. Your generous blogs have been so helpful. My next dog I’ll start with a just say yes vision, but I can’t imagine I’ll get any better bond than I have with Riley.
Wow, great post!!! I know I have a lot of shortcomings in my training, but I feel I am improving with Edan, he is my excuse dog, only pup in the litter and did not have the socialization he should have in his first 7 weeks. But he is really improving and I am starting to give him more credit for his brilliant performances and they seem to be coming more frequently.
I will keep this post in mind for him especially.
Great post, now i just need help not judging my dog when its 11pm and she is barking at the squirrel she just chased out of the yard.
HI SUSAN GREAT BLOG! I HAVE TO BEEN CAUGHT GOING NUTS ON A FELLOW DOG OWNER FOR ASSIVE LEASH POPPING. AFTER I TRIED TO EXPLAIN A BETTER METHOD BUT AFTER JUDGING A PERSON THEY SEEM TO IGNORE UR WISDOM. A LEADER CAN ONLY BE JUDGED AND CAN NOT JUDGE ANYONE IF HE IS TO SUCCEED AS A LEADER.
Susan great work in helping the world become a more positive place for all dogs.influence is by far more powerful than dictating.
Have a great summer
Such words of wisdome, thanks Susan!
Yes! Yes! Yes! Do-Land works for training humans as well. I was a student who was going to quit doing agility for being yelled during practices in my first few months of learning. My body wasn’t in the correct position (repeatedly), the trainer showed me the “correct” position and on my next turn I continued in the way I had previously tried to run. I suppose the trainer got frustrated or maybe thought I was ignoring their suggestion and lost it and started screaming at me. It wasn’t just me, I saw other students in other classes get the same “training”. Limited trainers in my neck of the woods back then, so you got what you got.
I was frustrated, hurt, embarrassed and mad and wondered why I should continue if it wasn’t going to be enjoyable and fun. I decided to start working in my backyard to train myself for what my body needed to be doing and where I needed be for my dog on course. I still trained at this facility since I didn’t have room for contacts, but most of my work was done at home.
I think the focus is put on the benefits of positive reinforcement for training between handler and their dog. In my experience, that philosophy gets lost somewhere along the lines between instructor and student. I think we all acknowledge that the trainer/student relationship should be as positive/supportive as the one we should have with our dogs, but this post really drove that point home for me.
In any interaction with living beings there are 3 main possible reactions:
-they ignore you and walk away
-active co-operation and participation
How to elicit the 3rd with a particular being is the fun part of the puzzle!
I remember when my daughter began to compete in horse shows. At 14 when something happened in the ring it was “that stupid horse did …”. By 16, it was “oh I forgot or I did …”. That was the growing up that I think her equitation experience gave to her.
Oh how well I remember the times I have forgotten the wisdom of what you said.