Sunday, December 16, 2012

Missing The Point

I recently had to take down my dog training blog I wrote through work because corporate policies changed and the old training methods aren't compatible with the new methods.  It's a bunch of bologna that I don't want to get into, but I love several of the posts I had written.  So until I start my own training business and can say what I want professionally, I'm going to move some of the posts over here.

Originally posted 10/15/11, Edited

Something that has been on my mind lately is something I think many people forget about in the dog sport world.

Dog training is about the journey, about the bond you build with your dog while teaching them to do awesome behaviors. It is *not* about the awards you win at the end of training when your dog is at competition level - that's just the icing on the cake!  Or at least, in my opinion, that's the way it should be.

If you want your dog to compete in a sport, you need to make sure you understand that your dog (most likely) isn't going to just *GET IT*, you need to brake down the steps in order to teach them what you expect.  You probably need to do some cross training to make sure that your dog isn't only in great physical health, but that they understand body awareness and have the mental strength to navigate a course.  For most dogs it's going to take a long time to learn these complicated behavior chains.

If you focus on the end result you're going to frustrate yourself and, more likely than not, burn out your dog pushing them farther than they are ready to go.  If you ever find your self saying "I want to do this with my dog, but I don't want to put the work in to get them there" then perhaps it's time to reevaluate your goals.

Teaching your dog - teaching them anything from sit, to shake, to maneuvering an agility course, or running flyball should be just as fun as the titles you add to their names.

You're going to have good days. You're going to have bad days. You're going to have days where you are going to swear your dog forgot every single thing you ever taught him.   Then you're going to have those magical days where everything clicks, it all comes together and you feel on top of the world.

And those days are going to make the journey seem so worthwhile.

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