Monday, April 27, 2009

There is no "I" in Team. There is a "U" in excuse ...

"Your dog only runs agility because you ask him/her too"
Have any of you heard this?

But is that a bad thing that my dog does Agility because I ask? Of course she does Agility because I ask - I've never seen a dog teach itself to Weave or learn a 20/20 Contact have you? If you have, please give them my email address so I can have a littermate or be on a waiting list for a puppy in 5 years ....

I have seen dogs teach themselves to miss their contacts and break startlines, steal toysfrom other people's training bags (Kaleb), if they don't know they are doing anything wrong, why wreck a good thing? Do you think these dogs are doing it for "you" or for themselves, I've dealt with this with my own dogs too.

I don't think I would want a dog that only pleases itself and does everything because "it" wants too. Isn't that why we teach reward systems, value for rewards, not to mention impulse control and motivational games, so we can work as a Team? It's a great deal I would say! They don't come to us being bred to do Agility with the instincts to do weave poles, read arm changes and know verbal directional cues (again pass my name on if you know of some who do), so it pretty much all comes down to us "asking" them to do it.

I think the 'key' is how you 'ask', and followed by being 'appropriately thanked', then followed by wanting to do it again because the first time brought great rewards! I am not 'making' my dogs do Agility. Can you 'make' a Terrier to do anything for instance, really? 

but "I", but "he", but "she" but, but, but ....
Rewind 14 years ... Grade 9, I was put in 'remedial' math, because based on my Grade 8 scores that is where I needed to be apparently. I hated math. I made excuses. I didn't try, I had no interest in it, at all, I was made to feel dumb. I counted the minutes until the class ended, well hey I was using math wasn't I? I preferred to use the skills I was good at, drawing horses in my math book.

Fastforward to Grade 10. Math class again, this time with the regular smart kids. But this time it was different, it was, dare I say enjoyable, I did my homework, and I understood what was being taught to me. I was thinking about this today and wondered what made the difference. For one it was my attitude, and more importantly, it was the teacher. You know what, that year I made the honour role, true my other four classes were, English, Art, Graphic Arts and Home-Ec, but hey, my Math mark didn't hold me back that much.

So on to Teachers .... they are the key. Or in this instance "We" are the key. I believe all my dogs enjoy training and learning, and they even like Obedience (could be like grade 9 math class if I let it be). My dogs each have their strengths and weaknesses in everything I do with them, some is based on natural ability, some is taught - but alot is based on what they can offer me and we work with that. Gyp and Kaleb could care less about Jane's cat toys, and Jane doesn't really care about bumpers, so I work with what makes them tick rather than trying to make them something they are not, and for me that has worked in training three very different dogs, breeds, personalities and drive levels. They are all successful in their own right, and have gone beyond a lot of things I ever thought possible.

The same things apply when I work with the BAD, NEGATIVE, or FEAR "issues" my dogs have or had (the difference in attitude between my grade 9 math class to my grade 10 class), I've made excuses, still make excuses, but it doesn't get me very far, so I TRY not too as much as possible, I try to use it as an opportunity.

• Don't dwell on the issues.
• DEAL with the issues, and get on with it.
• The issues DO NOT define my dog, or me.
• It is the GOOD that defines me or my dog.
• I don't let the past rule my future, or my dogs future.
• If you make excuses, you begin to define you or your dog based on that issue or issues.
• Excuses hold you back, and it makes it harder to move forward.
• Focus on the good, and let the rest fall into place.
• Work on the "issues" and the EASY stuff, becomes easier.

So that is all I have to say about that. Just some Monday morning ramblings of things that have been running around in my little brain, anyone have anything else to add??


Marcy said...

What a great post!!!
Food for thought no matter what venue one trains in.

manymuddypaws said...

did you tell pete about the five years? :o)

nothing to add- except that you (as in the trainer) have to also WANT to do the work- and it has to matter enough to you to find out what makes the dog tick, and how to make the dog have fun. And if you don't want to then that is fine too.

the post was great though!! reminds me of my excuses post from a few months ago! it is good to think about that kind of thing once in a while.

Sarah said...

depends on how bad you want it I guess ...

I know we have our disagreements about this - but every dog's potential is different than the next's, and i really do feel every dog has potential for SOMETHING - I was told dog "A" would never be able to "that", she had "issues", she was not "fast" - never tell me that - then I have something to prove. I believe some people thought the same thing about dog "B" and "C" as well ....

Yes, some you just have to work 10x as hard to get the same result as the one before ..... and I am willing do that - but in the same breath, I am making sure my dog is having fun in the process ... with Jane it was all about making her thinking it was her idea, and boom before you know it she has her Silver Award and she is still having fun.

Ya I told him about the 5 years, I got the eye roll. Then I told him you guys decided our next dog would be a Border Collie, and that was that, he didn't put up much of a fuss, just that I had to confirm it would retriever birds and not run away from them ....

He said a big NO to another JRT however ....

I wrote about the excuses after being so annoyed this weekend and hearing so many excuses from people - as we discussed - and you didn't write about it from the weekend, so I fgured I should!!!

As well as the first part of my blog post, what are you doing it for - and what are your dogs doing it for ...

BCxFour said...

This is a FANTASTIC post! These bullets really hit home

• Don't dwell on the issues.
• DEAL with the issues, and get on with it.
• The issues DO NOT define my dog, or me.

I get so stuck in the issues I have with Beth that I fail to see it does not define her...or ME. I think I take her faults personally and really need to get past that. Reading your post hit home. Thank you for sharing it.

BCxFour said...

I quoted your post on my blog - I hope you dont mind. This was excellent and I had to reference it. Too good not to share!!!

If you mind or wish for me to change/correct anything please let me know, I am happy to edit it and/or completely remove it if you would prefer.