In every dog training class or workshop I have been in, at some point all of the participants end up in a conversation about the ways we wish to be be better as trainers. Since we are all in the workshop or class to improve our positive reinforcement training skills, it makes sense to chat about working towards being better trainers but many of these discussions turn into complaining. One person will share how a certain lack of knowledge ruined a certain cue in a dog and state that for the next dog it will be different. Another person will tell a story about how a training mistake embarrassed them in competition. Eventually, everyone within ears reach is beating themselves up about their total and complete lack of training skills and knowledge. I have done it. I still do. And I don't need a crowd of other trainers to get started on the massive list of ways I can improve my positive reinforcement pet training skills. Yet when I was recently lamenting the bettering myself as a trainer list, Leo stated from his near-by play tree "I love you." Genius! How can I best improve as a trainer? By loving what a great trainer I already am.
Something Is Better Than Nothing
I think one of the things that stops people from doing any training with their dogs, cats, parrots or other pets is the idea that training has to mean ending up on TV with the greatest trained pet in history. But training is about bonding and mental stimulation and nothing more. Not to say that training can't suddenly become the best hobby ever and lead to the greatest trained pet in history dazzling millions on TV. Every hobby starts somewhere and if that somewhere is a few minutes a week, fantastic!
Keeping It Positive
Since my training journey began decades ago in the not-so-positive, I definitely give myself a pat on the back every time I don't use a negative training technique. Anyone who is training positively, using a clicker or not, training amazing tricks or a simple sit, is the very best trainer ever in my eyes. And that positive reinforcement trainer is also the best in the eyes of their pet(s.) What else matters?
Everywhere we go, I am barraged by compliments about my well cared for, well trained and happy pets. So even though I am not the best trainer that I think I can be, others notice and comment on what they see as my successes. I think I need to more often take some time to do the same, learning from the good example of my happy and content pets.
Welcome to Positive Reinforcement Pet Training Week hosted by Cascadian Nomads, Rubicon Days & Tenacious Little Terrier. This month we are sharing stories of how to improve as trainers.The blog hop is open all week, so if you are a blogger, add a post and if you are a positive pet trainer or training enthusiast, hop around by clicking the thumbnails below, learn and share. Next months Positive Reinforcement Pet Training Week begins September 7th and like every month, any and all posts or comments about positive reinforcement pet training are welcome.