We have all now done four days of our 30 Days of Canine Science challenge, and it is certainly proving an eye opener. Great fun though! My colleagues and I have been really enjoying the challenge and it certainly is giving us all food for thought, as well as highlighting areas we are each good at or could improve on.
People get comfortable in their training methods, all trainers from those owners just training their own pet dogs for fun, to professionals who are training for clients. We find what works for us, what achieves the desired outcome for ourselves and our clients, and we then practice it until it is second nature to us.
The whole point, it seems, of this course so far is to have us re-examine our techniques and discover things we wouldn't usually think of trying, to stretch our abilities even further. It pushes us just outside of our comfort zones, while allowing us the room to adapt and take from it what works for us.
Moo is very much enjoying the sudden influx of sausage, and is trying his very hardest, being the good boy that he is. He has always been taught using concept games as these seem to come the most naturally to us as a partnership, so using cues, props other than toys, lures and even some shaping - apart from basic obedience training - is a new thing for him to get his head round, definitely something I will be doing more of with him as he seems to be relishing the chance to use his brain. By the end of his 30 days of sausage he will be the weight of a St. Bernard.
It's good to do things like this with your own dog as a trainer, as you can get so wrapped up in other people's animals and the world they live in, that your own dog can get left behind a little. Couple that with the fact that most of us get into training in the first place because our own dogs might have needed a little help and you have a situation. An electrician will not very often go home and begin rewiring their own house for fun. But - give them something new to do and they are in their element fiddling with their pliers and fuses. This kind of thing, when entered into in the right frame of mind (ie. for fun, not because you want to put pressure on yourself or your pet) and taking any positive training methods you wish to utilise from it, is a great relationship builder and a brilliant reminder as to why we took up training in the first place. That delighted little body waggling about and that happy, smiley face you get when your own dog realises that you are doing something special together with them is priceless.
Absolute Dogs Geek is pretty awesome too - very sciencey but understandable for dummies like myself. Many, many lightbulb moments to help out my behaviour clients and their dogs and we are only in the first week.
In other news, Aedan has college beginning tomorrow and as part of his studies he has to learn to write a blog, so his blog will be at aedanshanes.blogspot.com - I know you will all wish him luck - but can you all please wish me luck too as I have to be up at bloody 6am to get him on the bus! It is going to sting pretty sodding badly after having lay ins for half the summer holidays, and no rushing about even on the days I had to get up.
Mornings are shite. It's a fact. Thats why dog trainers do not tend to run dog training classes at 6am, we are still tucked up in our baskets dreaming of fleecey gilets with lots of big pockets and clickers that have a nice soft click, if we can help it. Those of us that are very energetic might be walking our own dogs - but these are the ones who are in bed by 9.30pm, and with teens in the house that is just impossible.
Suppose I had better go and make sure he has some clean clothes to wear and that his homework is done. It is 7.15pm the night before college starts - that's enough time to catch up with six weeks worth of homework in a panic.. right??