Big kudos to Lori and Phoebe!!
On my teaching travels there is often a young dog that is quite simply spectacular.
In short order many are inquiring as to the breeding of the dog causing a line up for duplicate breedings as many would like to have a dog like “that one”. I always smile and say nothing as I have seen it happen for so many years, both with horses and now with agility dogs, after all, brilliance is eye catching as well as inspiring so who wouldn’t want to take advantage of it?
Truth is, “that” dog or horse does not truly exist by itself. If that were all it took was to duplicate a breeding the agility rings would be flooded with exceptional dogs ,who by the way, all look alike!
The reality is that it is never that dog, or that horse but rather it is the Right dog, with the Right person, with the Right training and nurturing that allows the magic to happen. When all the ingredients line up the the result is like magic, viola- there it is but if you skip an ingredient or component you get a totally different outcome. We all can easily see the magic when everything comes together just don’t be fooled into thinking it is that easy- just buy the breeding.
At a recent seminar a very nice man with an awesome young dog was told by Bud Huston, “Train, you might get lucky”.
This is my busy travel time for this time of year so perhaps you have noticed a delay in offering a new online class? Just a few more weeks and we will begin a new session.
As I travel and teach there are always topics that have been covered and yet they come up again, this time it is reinforcers. As you consider what to pack as a reward, (reinforcer ) for your dog be sure to consider that what may be a strong reward in one environment may have little value at all in another environment. For you to be certain your reinforcer will have enough value for your dog one must experiment and proof the process in different environments. It is of the utmost importance to KNOW what you are offering meets the needs of the dog in any given circumstance. I see all the time dogs that disengage from their handlers when the reward lacks enough strength to compel the dog to truly "want it" under high stress work.
Much of the jump grid work requires a high degree of thought from the dog to problem solve which many dogs are not conditioned to produce and is therefore very stressful for them. Under these circumstances the handler really needs to be "all that" and then some for their dog. I truly am not trying to preach here but rather call attention to the dogs needs during these times so that the handler can count on their dog to offer the behaviors they want. All training
needs to be fun and highly rewarded for our dogs, it also reinforces us when the dog works happily and is always willing to try for us so it is a win, win situation.
As another year winds to a close and we look forward to a new year ,it is always good to pause and enjoy the special moments we have shared in the past year with friends old and new. This year two groups traveled here from Japan, they came to train and share their goals and dreams for their young dogs and along the way became new friends. We all share the common bond, our dogs. When we think about it, so many people have come into our lives because of our dogs. We enjoy and share a passion for our sport, because of our dogs. We train hard, learn more in order to become better teammates because of our dogs.
I am able to meet new people, enjoy old friends, travel to teach around the country all the while enjoying the wonderful company of my dogs- and yours. Our dogs offer us love, enthusiasm for their work and wisdom. Hang a stocking with something good for your dogs and take a moment in your busy day to tell them how much you appreciate them.
Onward to a new year, new friends and adventures, join me on the next adventure in learning.
Happy Holidays to all,
Susan- Patrick & Story
Patrick and Story here. We have been on the road for almost a month this trip. In New Hampshire we visited with our dear friend Lily Peaches and enjoyed long, leisurely walks each morning followed by breakfast on the patio.
Then onto Mass. to Clean Run, we love it there too where all the dogs are friendly and we enjoy some spirited grasshopper hunting!
Story also enjoyed sunning herself in the little pink chair while our mom taught dogs how to jump.
After a week in MA it was off to NJ and our friend Mary Lou's house where we very much enjoyed an evening swim each night in the pool. Here we are on the last teaching day with our friends Wizard, Patrick's bestie and Shazam, Story's bestie.
Now back home and off to Nose Work-see you all very soon in WI!