Dog training is considered the training of a dog – but is it? How much are we working on them, and how much are we working on ourselves?
As beginners, we put a large part of the responsibility on the four legged part of the team. It is them who disobey us. It is they who are distracted, unfocused, and sometimes darned right unguidable. As we learn more we almost switch roles. We learn to forgive our dogs for their indecencies and errors and instead look inward at where our training might have failed. We prepare for the unexpected and we add more distractions and challenges to our dog’s learning. We increase our dogs skill set and also increase our own. But still, while our skills and tolerance have improved, we are still focusing on changing the dog.
I am very fortunate to be working with many committed students who have spent immense amounts of time, patience, commitment, and money fixing their broken dogs. My owners have exposed themselves, their weaknesses, and allowed themselves to be vulnerable as they let go of what they believed to be true.
The difference in their dogs is like night and day. But the humans; not so much.
Through acquiring a very large skill set of behaviours, their dogs also changed their personalities. The once pushy dog now has learned to want to please his owner. The fearful dogs have learned to trust, and enjoy what is going on around them. To actually change another beings personality for the best is a huge accomplishment. When they are good, their owners feel good. And when they make an occasional error, their owners feel like they have failed.
Why do we allow our confidence to be determined by a single canine error?
We need to focus on the thousands of things that we, as the human end of the leash, do right? There might be a hundred occasions where our dogs amazed us, and not only did we handle our dogs perfectly in that moment, but we projected exactly how we wanted them to behave. Sadly these are not the moments that we rehearse in our minds for our subconscious to remember the next time that we are in that type of incident. Instead we rehearse and relive our failures.
You cannot succeed if you consistently rehearse failure. Forget your errors and focus on your successes. After all, that is what you have trained your dog to do.
Remember and rehearse what you do right. In a situation that could be dire, we need to think “my dog has mastered this a thousand times, and he will again”. Have plan B ready in your mind, and go into the situation knowing you won’t need it. Projecting positive energy and belief in your dog is key to your dog’s success, and your success.
Asking your dog to change is expected. But continuing to judge both them and yourself on an occasional error is sabotage to your self-confidence. Always remember all that you do right. Don’t let a blip in time question your talent and instantly make you fall back into your old ways.
Be determined to get the success that you deserve. Once you are at this point, not only will you have changed your dog, but also you will have changed yourself.
The Naughty Dogge is a dog training school located in Victoria, BC. We truly are dog-trainers and competitors, bringing out the best in any dog, regardless of breed and issues. That means we teach competitive agility, Freestyle Dancing, Competition Obedience, Retrain Dog Aggressive Dogs, Teach Puppy Classes and Pet Dogs to be perfect citizens, and work with behaviour problems. There is probably not an issue that we havn´t retrained! This newsletter is copyright to Monique Anstee, January 2013 and may be reprinted with full credit given to Monique Anstee at firstname.lastname@example.org You can contact us at 250.590.2664