Yep, I train dogs. Training dogs is SO fun and SO rewarding.
I also train people. That’s the hard part.
People come to me wanting their dog to become an agility star or a movie star but they often overlook their role in the process.
Dog Training is a team sport.
I want to start this blog by talking about being a good team mate to your dog. I have so far put 5 Championship titles on two different dogs. My dogs have been a National Finalist, a Dog Agility Speed Challenge Winner and a Purina Incredible Dog Challenge finalist. The two dogs who accomplished these feats are entirely different dogs.
MACH3 ADCH Roxy “Roxy” (golden)- TM-Silver, SCH-Bronze, JCH-Bronze, RCH-Bronze, Hall of Fame, 2005 USDAA Grand Prix National Performance Finalist, TV Actor
Roxy is a rescue dog. When I got her she was afraid of her shadow. She was timid, would shake at loud sounds, was very soft and still can’t think in the presence of food.
MACH ADCH Red-Dawn Blue Sage “Sage” (BC) – GCh, TM-Platinum, Reigning Champion – Del Mar Palm Classic $1,000 Dog Agility Speed Challenge, Purina Incredible Dog Challenge 2010 – Weave Pole Challenge Finalist, TV Actor
Sage was born tough as nails. She didn’t care about pleasing me AT ALL. It was all about her and what I could do for her. She taught me where the word “BITCH” came from.
If I had followed some one-sized fits all training plan I never could have accomplished what I have with my dogs. That’s where team work comes in. You have to know your dog. Know what makes your dog turn on. Know what your dog likes, doesn’t like, loves, hates. Know everything you can about your future dog star.
Training a dog is an art, not a science. Sure, there is a lot of scientific information we use to create behaviors we want to see in our dogs but the application of these scientific principles is an art form.
More thoughts about being a team player in my next post.