This might be a strange blog topic from someone whose life has been devoted to being an expert dog trainer. As we all know, there’s a lot that goes into being a “dog trainer” … years of education, continual professional development and learning, years of honing the practical skills and putting those skills into action.
And for me, being an expert dog trainer means that I have intentionally put myself into a fishbowl. I live in the “public eye” and am very open about the choices I make for my dogs and my dog training students.
My biggest hope for each of my dog training students is that they become their own dog training coach …. their own expert dog trainer. I am immensely proud of my students and how they grow into this role for themselves.
It’s also an immense privilege to be able to watch the transformation happen from when someone first joins my dog training programs full of questions, through to when they have the skills and confidence to not only solve any dog training challenge they may have, but to in turn become a mentor to new students with us.
We are currently welcoming thousands of new students from around the globe into our online dog training program “Home School the Dog“. And I am blown away at how our experienced community members are taking everyone under their wing to encourage and guide in what is for many, a brand new adventure into training the dog online. How incredibly fortunate I am to be surrounded by such an amazing community of passionate dog lovers who embrace what I teach and are genuinely changing lives of dogs and people for the better.
Outside the Box Thinking
Reinforcement based training requires outside-the-box thinking because all dogs are not the same and we can not predict how each one is going to respond. One of the goals of my teaching on dog training is to help each of you become great examples of solution-based positive trainers, helping you to learn to become that outside-the-box thinker.
You are a Dog Trainer to Someone in Your Life
Here’s one thing I know about everyone who joins me to gain dog training knowledge … it might be through my books, DVDs, what I share in free video series, online programs, social media, podcasts, this blog …. each of you is a dog trainer to someone in your life.
It could be your neighbour, or the UPS driver. It could be your family members. Someone in your life looks to you as their “authority” on dogs (and possibly as a crazy dog person). When that person asks you a question about dogs, you give them an answer … I know you do! The question comes into your brain, and your brain tells your mouth “here is everything I know about that topic right now”.
Release the Resourceful Trainer Who is Within You!
When you are learning about dog training, you may come across challenges with your dog or your mechanics that you are unsure how to solve. If you are like most people, you will type a question.
Why do people immediately ask others to answer their dog training questions? It is because it is the solution that is “easy”.
The biggest downside of this is that you are rehearsing for your subconscious that you are dependent on others for your dog training solutions because you can’t solve dog training problems without help. That is just not true! You are SOMEBODY’s dog trainer!
We are going to fix that for you by giving you four steps to follow when you want to ask a question. Teaching helps you strengthen your understanding … even if you are teaching yourself!
We know you can be a brilliant, resourceful, solution-based positive trainer.
Four Steps When You Have a Question
- Write out your question in one or two sentences at the most . . . no need to give history; just describe your challenge.
- Re-read your question then go back through what you have just read, listened to, or watched (or all three if you are in my online dog training programs) with your question in mind.
- Try the search here on my blog, online program, or Facebook group by entering a word or two that you think might return search results for your question.
- Now, even if you are still puzzled, write up a quick one or two sentences of the solution that you think would work and post THAT.
Please don’t be afraid to ask questions; we are here to help. And part of that help is to give you confidence in your skills and knowledge. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes … trust me, you ARE going to make them. But here in Do-Land, mistakes are fixed the same way they are made … with more reinforcement for your dog! It is progress, not perfection, to aim for.
So the next time you come across something when you are learning with me (or in any course for anything really) that prompts you to ask others to solve your problem, pose the question to yourself first then post YOUR SOLUTION for us to read. Tell us what stumped you and what you came up with for a workaround.
This way, you are rehearsing for your subconscious, “WOW am I ever a resourceful dog trainer!”. This is how confidence grows, how your skills improve, and how transformations happen!
The best way to stimulate “outside-the-box thinking” in your own training is to start asking yourself to find solutions, ask the question of that knowledgeable expert that lives within you; I know he or she is going to blow your mind with how resourceful they can be when you let them try!
Today I am grateful for everyone in this world who is doing the best they can, and for the amazing things that can be achieved from the knowledge that we are all in this together.