Living with Labrador Retrievers, the joys and tribulations of living, loving and training dogs
This blog is a tribute to Belle, and all the dogs who have come before and after. They are my friends, my companions, my teachers and my students. They bring me both joy and heartache, laughter and tears. There is nothing as sweet as the smell of puppy breathe, and nothing as sad as the final goodbye.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
across this one night while searching the internet and thought it perfectly
expressed my own thoughts and philosophy about dog training, so much so, that I
had to share.
do I train dogs? "I train the dog I am training." While this might be
ambiguous, it is true. I have been getting drilled on my training method.... so
here it is - hopefully more cut and dried.
is about getting into your dog´s head, and understanding what motivates him,
what make him smile, and what concerns him. It helps to be able to think like
your dog, so that you can be one step ahead of him.
is defined as a relationship with your dog. You understand him so well that you
can think for him, know his struggles in advance, and adjust his mood as
needed, to help him learn what he needs to learn to be the best dog that he can
Cookies cannot buy this. Corrections cannot buy this. Something this precious
and this complex cannot be purchased with a cookie or a leash correction.
should be able to laugh at him for his silly antics, realize when he is trying
but misunderstood your words compared with when he completely blows you off
because you are not important compared to what is going on. Or realize when he
disobeyed, but gave you his all - and could give you nothing better.
must realize when he is stressed by his environment and needs more help from
you, or when he is stressed by his environment and needs to be told to grow up
and act like a man.
need to be aware when something completely alien might be going on - is he
sitting really slow because he hurt himself?
So the question still remains of "What method do I use." I train the
dog I am training. There is no one thing that I can do to create the beautiful
relationship that I have with my dogs. I respect dogs for who they are, I
believe in their potential, build on their strengths, and chip away at their
weaknesses. I build a relationship with them so that they care what I think and
try really hard to please me. I build them up to be the best that they can be,
and encourage certain traits to hide their weaknesses. I truly "train the
dog that I am training".
are no rules for this process to take place. What is necessary for one dog
might be detrimental in that moment for another. While in puppy class, I might
instantly stop one puppy from dragging his owner, and I might request another
owner to allow their puppy to drag them for two more weeks before we stop it.
There are no absolute rules when it comes to training dogs.
dog has to be trained by his own criteria, working with what he brings to the
table. Every dog has the same goals and directions, but we might get there
fifty different ways, depending on the learning ability, emotional need and
intelligence of the dog, and always considering the handling abilities and
personality of the handler. Our timeline will vary as much as our methods; you
can only train the dog at the speed of the dog. This is a relationship, between
one dog and one human, and rules might need to be gently bent and swayed,
depending upon the individuals.
is not science. It is art. We are given a blank canvas with every puppy that we
get, and it is our creation to build, alter, discourage, or deny. Each of our
canvases will look different when our dogs are a year old, depending upon our
feel and timing, our dreams and vision, our denial, our work ethic, and the
dogs that we get.
can you define this training method with one set of limiting rules? You can't.