Use Your Own Words, Trainers

Training Philosophy

Use Your Own Words, Trainers

Every 2-3 days I get a message that is nearly identical every time. Someone who follows my Facebook page (SpiritDog Training) has found some content – usually one of the training tips with the watermark cropped out – that is being distributed without credit and passed off as someone else’s work.
After the initial annoyance this actually is an exemplary of a much bigger problem, the missing step from using someone else’s words to using one’s own.

Every time we learn a new skill we start out with intense instruction. We learn cooking – we follow recipes. We learn how to draw – we may follow step-by-step instructions of how to draw specific body parts or positions of the human body. We learn how to be a dog trainer – we need to start with someone else’s words – a mentor, a dog training school, a book – that we pass on to our students.

At some point however the understanding of the matter should surpass the level at which we use the words of others. I believe that we only truly own knowledge when we are able to pass it on through our own ways.

Thankfully dog training is a very young field that doesn’t have defined “best options” for doing anything. What we may seem like the most elegant and quickest approach to train a behavior now may actually be secondary to an approach that is still waiting to be developed. And that one may be secondary to an even better, more elegant, less invasive, faster, more effective solution…

How do we move forward and progress the field though?

How do we find these still hidden approaches? Certainly not by copying other people’s work.
Instead, I would like a dog training world where every trainer is working for himself to find clearer words for explaining, faster methods for training, clearer ways for showing the dog exactly which behavior gets which reward.

Dog training needs so much more experimentation. 

So, stop using other people’s words – whether that is your instructor, a book, or some site on the internet – instead go out, and start some training experiments with your dogs. The best we can do for our dogs, our clients’ dogs and the field of training itself is trying to become a better trainer every day.

Happy Training!

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