This past weekend I spent teaching a workshop on building drive and motivation for work, as well as competition obedience specific skills. It was a lot of fun- working with new dogs and people. Everyone was really great and I think came away with some new ideas.
I teach quite a lot- all different types of classes and levels. Although I don't consider myself a "people person," I do read people well. I can tell what they need to hear, and usually Can figure out a way to explain it in a way that they understand.
One thing that I do struggle to explain properly is how important it is to know your dog. How understanding your dogs behavior, is the first step before being able to actually teach them something. I think far too often we are just blindly trying to teach the dog stuff without considering the dogs mental ability and state. If the dog is stressed, worried, anxious, over-aroused, or bored will all make a difference in the dogs ability to learn and perform. Identifying it, and the reason behind it and then moving forward to a solution is Important.
Teaching our dogs to cope with stress, distractions, and failure shouldn't be avoided. Too often the first sign of failure and we either make it a big deal, or make it easy for the dog again. We are creating dogs who give up and have no try. There needs to be a happy medium. One where the effort may be acknowledged, but lets try it again. And maybe with a little change, or a bit of help. Backing up all the time to square one is not going to teach the dog how to get to step three.
Anyway. Just some random thinking. I talked about these things a fair amount this weekend- and I wonder if people were caught up in the skill part of the workshop and didn't really consider the other stuff. Maybe it should have been on a handout...
Next time I think I'll do that. So people can read and absorb on their own. Just like dogs, we don't all learn the same!