When I first started out training dogs professionally, I used the same exercises that I learned from the classes I took. I then added exercises I learned from others, including those I found in books and videos. However, over time, these changed, and what I do today bears little resemblance to what I did years ago…
At first, I started with what I was familiar with and what others told me to do. I guess that is a normal way of doing things. Wash, rinse, repeat. Over and over again. As time went on, I came to see that certain exercises didn’t perform as advertised. They didn’t work well on every dog, or most dogs.
Over time, I innovated solutions to fix what these exercises lacked. I’d do Plan A, and when Plan A didn’t work with a new dog, then I’d have to think up a work around. I did this over many years, and continue to do this.
A funny thing happened along the way. The exercises I invented as remedies, became the primary exercises I do today. They were more effective, worked faster and better on all dogs, were easier to learn, easier to teach, were easier on the dogs. I’ve even given them their own names.
I never saw these exercises in a book or video. I came up with them on my own. They work, too.
I learned as I went along. One of the main things I learned was how this or that exercise was picked up by students and dogs alike. Some were effective, many were not so effective. I think a lot of dog training is people just doing things because that is the way they were taught, never observing the effects, never thinking and observing the effects on the dogs or students. I noticed a lot of small details along the way. How you carried yourself, tone of voice, hand gestures, length of lessons, which exercises should be done first before doing the next, what should be said, how they should be practiced, when to add something new or to stay where you were for a while, and so on. Today’s lessons are much better than what I did 5, 10, 15, 20, or more years ago. And I expect what I do 5 years from now will be even better.
Good training is never static, as far as I’m concerned. I keep developing and observing, refining and learning new material. I cover things differently today, and the emphasis on certain exercises is different than they were just a few years ago. Students that rehire me for their next dog find that we are doing things differently than we did before, and they find it easier, too. I find it better for me as well. I’m happier, and a happy trainer is a better trainer. I like how things are working out, and still remember the early days. I’m glad I had all these experiences, because I’m better able to train than ever before. I’m looking forward to showing you my “new stuff”!!