Recently, a student sent me a message prior to a lesson sharing her concerns, thoughts and feelings about training journey. I listened intently, and it struck me how common her thinking and feelings were.
This particular student, has trained with me for a relatively short period of time and in that time, has been on steep learning curve. She has changed the way she trains, and now teaches in tiny nuances of behaviour. She has raised her expectations and her standards beyond all recognition and in doing so, has broadened her horizons and her potential.
And in doing so, has paid a price.
The price that has been paid is, in being enlightened and informed, she has realised the more you know the less you know, and the more you train, the higher the bar.
See what you first start upon this weird and wonderful world of dog training, you have no comparison. So because you don’t know what you don’t know, you are largely on the rise, irrespective of what you do. But when you become aware of what you want, and have an inkling of how to get it, the work and magnitude of the task at hand, can often be overwhelming.
In addition to that you go from being ‘unconsciously incompetent’ to ‘consciously incompetent, then ‘consciously competent’…. and once mastered, ‘unconsciously competent’.
That second and third phases of learning are the killers! They are the ones, which make of break you.
You go from being naively joyful unaware of the pitfalls, and errors ahead… to seeing every ‘mistake’ and flaw.
Then you enter the frustrating period of being aware of your shortcomings and inadequacies…. you become self deprecating, tearing yourself apart for what you can’t do…
If you ‘survive’ those phases, you finally enter that state of ‘unconscious competence’… where everything flows, you instinctively know what to do, when, and how to do it… You are confident that anything that is thrown at you, you can handle any situation and you act without thinking….
Well, here’s the newsflash!
We have all been there!!!! And in some way, shape or form… we are all constantly going through those 4 phases.
Thats part of what makes it so interesting!
As a professional dog trainer who competes at the highest level, sports dog coach to people who have competed at World Championship level dog sports, and dog owner and trainer for nearly 30yrs, every time I get a puppy or new dog, be if my own or a dog that I am training residentially, I feel like I am a complete beginner all over again.
This new canine Rubik cube, to try and figure out, un-ravel and persuade that a) I exist! b) I am fun c) have confidence!
Every dog will ultimately present you with challenges that you haven’t encountered, behaviours you haven’t faced, and problems that you haven’t had sleepless nights over! And after nearly, 30yrs.. I still thrive on this part of the journey!!!
Just when you think, you have worked it ‘all out’, your dog throws you a curve ball, that makes you look to the skied and say ‘What the…..!!!!
I can recall vivid moments with every dog I have ever trained, and that is in the thousands… where I have had to stop and think…. Wrack my brain and figure out another way, a better way, a cleverer way… I am always learning. I still get a rush when I overcome a struggle… It has to be said, I would rather not have that struggle!!! BUT overcoming it, is worth its weight it Gold!!!
The ‘thing’ that keeps me reacting this somewhat sadistic pattern of, boy finds dog, dog causes boy stress and frustration, boy considers getting koi carp, boy overcomes problem, boy gets another dog…..is that, ultimately I believe that I will learn from this experience, no matter what….
There is no failure, just feedback!
I feel confident in saying, that with every dog I have ever owned, I have managed to build a bond, create a relationship even when there wasn’t one to start with.. we were both strangers to each other and from that I forged a bond that ends up, unbreakable. Any challenges I have had, I have learnt from.
Those lessons have either been to benefit my subsequent dogs, or my students, whether it be the experience and wisdom I have gained from going in the ‘trenches’, or the empathy to be able to relate to what they are facing and their struggles.
Through this endless learning and desire to improve, and be better for my dogs and my pupils, I have collated a number of key findings that I want to share with you all….
To access my “FREE” e-book on creating an amazing relationship with your dog, and ‘Setting the tone’ for a phenomenal bond, just click the link below!!!
Above all, as corny as it may sound… it is all about the journey and not the destination!
Enjoy your dogs!