Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Train Your Dog Like a Pro

I read other blogs regularly. The less-than-professional quality photos (no offense to Greyhounds CAN Sit, those pictures are breathtaking!) and the back-and-forth conversations make blogging feel more genuine. I pick up all kinds of information and enjoy the different points of view. And when I find what I think is a real gem I like to share it with you.

Months ago I read Why I Like Jean Donaldson on Damien's Best Dog Toys. The author was so passionate about one book -- Train Your Dog Like a Pro -- that I had to check it out. I put the book on my Amazon wish list -- and promptly forgot about it.

Eventually I ordered it and read half the book before I misplaced it. Recently I found the book again and am really enjoying it. Jean Donaldson breaks behaviors down into tiny pieces and gives a step by step progression for each one, along with the science behind it. Her Push-Drop-Stick is an objective method to gauge when to increase the difficulty level.

True confession: I'm a horrible dog trainer. I don't find the intrinsic joy in it that some of my friends do. When I come home from work I want to flop on the couch and watch mindless TV, not "work the dogs." Jean Donaldson addresses this in Chapter 4 with some practical tips to keep the trainer (me!) motivated.

So I'm finishing the book and trying to put her methods into practice. Jedi's a great dog, he deserves a better trainer. I'm trying not to beat myself up (too much). I'm trying to be more consistent. I love dog classes because they force me to be accountable. With that in mind, I just signed up for a class at the Humane Society. By October Jedi should have his CGC (Canine Good Citizen) title.

I know this is a Training Tips hop. I'm attaching this for all of you not-so-stellar trainers like me. My tip: Stop beating yourself up. Then hop around and see what others are sharing. There's some great stuff out there. -- K