Every good coach knows that top level performance starts with mastering the basics. One of the greatest football coaches in history was Vince Lombardi. He is credited with saying, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He would go back to the fundamentals with every new season, after any game loss. John Wooden, great basketball coach, did the same, even describing exactly how to tie basketball shoes properly. The fundamentals are the essentials to create top performance.
I still have the notes from the very first dog training class I attended. We started out with the basics, how to put on a leash and collar, and then step-by-step instructions on how to work with a dog. I do the same types of lessons with my students.
In general, what are The Dog Training Essentials? I break the Essentials into three parts:
Physical Abilities And Fitness: I’ve had numerous students with disabilities. Sometimes we have to find workarounds to get results. I’ve also had students without disabilities who were being overpowered by their gigantic dogs, and we’ve had to find ways to deal with those situations, too. Similarly, I’ve had more than one discussion with students regarding their dog’s physical fitness and abilities. One dog I’m currently working with is out of shape, and the lack of prior physical activity is causing her to act like an old dog, laying around all the time. Now that we’ve started an exercise program, she is behaving more like a young dog, and her training is progressing much better, she is more responsive and happier.
Mindset: I prepare my students for the real world. I help them learn about proper mental preparation for most normal situations, from a stranger attempting to pet their dog, guests entering the home, their dog getting loose from them in public, to encounters with strange dogs. If the mindset is wrong, then they might blunder into a disaster. We also cover the proper mindset when living with, interacting and training their dog. A proper mindset makes all the difference. Proper mindset is also critical in overcoming most behavioral problems. It is especially important to develop a proper affectionate relationship with a dog. I work to help my students get into the right mindset.
Skills And Tactics: Dogs need skills. So do dog owners. We spend a lot of time building skills. As the training continues, we also discuss tactics to deal with various social situations and behavioral problems.
By combining all three of these Essentials, my students get the most out of their dogs, including their relationship with their dogs. When the Essentials are in place, then basic training goes well, and advanced training becomes possible.
Let’s get your Essentials in place. You’ll see a huge difference as the training progresses.