Someone said something to me the other day and it got me thinking..
They presumed because I have had a lot of agility success in the last year that it has been easy, so I thought I would take you on a little journey.
The above picture marks the start of something special with a dog that has never been easy. It was our first clear round at a UK agility show…
The moment felt like it was never going to come!! And I mean that seriously… I’d been taking Milo to competitions for a good few months.. We got elimination after elimination.. Sometimes just getting him to do more than 2 jumps was a challenge! However I kept going at the time, doing everything I now tell my students not to do!
Because I was advised by my trainer at the time that he would get used to it, that he’d get better the more I did it!
That’s the thing, you put your trust in your trainers don’t you… Well you should do or I’d wonder why you were using them if you didn’t.. But this is where I started to learn that one size doesn’t fit all! I knew something wasn’t right.. He wasn’t having fun and neither was I!!
After his scare (see my previous blogs for details) I pulled him from competition.. Enough was enough.. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back 🐪!
I also found a new trainer!!
Milo is my 1st Sports dog and when I first took him to training I don’t think anyone thought I’d be where I am now so it’s bound to have been easy, I’m bound to have just had an easy dog right?
The picture above symbolises everything I stand for as a dog trainer.. Knowing YOUR dog and doing what’s right for them!
Back then when I pulled him from competition, it was at the time when I was studying various dog training qualifications, I’d not set out to be a dog trainer, it wasn’t a path I’d set out to go on I just wanted to learn more for me, I love learning and dogs had fascinated me all my life.
I was beginning to understand all about Milo’s behaviour and that it was the exact opposite to what my trainers had told me!!
I’d paid money to someone, believing I was doing the right thing and it turns out that I was doing it wrong all the time!
How did that feel?!
That’s how that felt!
This dog who had given me so much and I had done everything wrong!
I owed it to this little dog to get it right!
In the 8 months Milo had off I underwent a serious amount of learning and I mean a serious amount! Any course I could do I was on it, online learning, practical learning, books, webinars.. You name it I did it! I still learn daily to this day.. Your never done learning. This industry is constantly evolving and I’m such a dog geek I have a natural thirst to learn more!
Along with all the formal learning I found absolute dogs and their game based training. I liked their style and ethos so I followed what they said and it gave me back my happy confident dog, it really was a transformation.
My new Agility trainers made sure Milo and I had all the skills we needed agility wise and then we went back to the ring!
That’s the thing even trainers need trainers and my agility trainers are at the top of their game! If your trainer doesn’t have a trainer you need to get a new trainer!!!
What happend next?
Did it all just fall into place?
Well, kind of! 😂
See when training a dog you have to live in the moment, Milo and I as a team have a good thing going on now, we click – I get him and he gets me! I know when he’s ring ready and when he’s not and I help him, if there is something that needs work we work on it both agility wise and in everyday life.
It hasn’t been easy.. We put work in each day.. Not masses and masses each day but each day we do something.
3 minute games, mostly we don’t even train agility.
Sometimes we have days where we do nothing – well we are actually bucket emptying and practicing calmness but to some it would look like nothing.
All this gives me the relationship with Milo that I have now.
Agility is all about the relationship you have with them, it’s teamwork that is the nature of the sport.
Yes they need the skills for the sport, they need to know how to do the kit safely and correctly but the sport itself is built on the stuff you don’t see, you don’t build a house without building good foundations, even the most grand of mansions would fall down if they had crap foundations!
Agility training wise with my trainers I have an hour one to one each week with one trainer and I also attend her weekly group lesson and I have a monthly hour one to one with the other and also attend her monthly group sessions.
When competing I work at Milo’s pace, if I don’t feel like he’s in the right mindset we don’t run!
It really is that simple.
You get out what you put in and if you look after what your dog is telling you, they will look after you!
We train because we both enjoy it, my dogs are working breeds and they need work.. They would go crazy without it!
But I don’t push them EVER!! I don’t chase rosettes, results or qualifiers we just HAVE FUN! Everything is kept lighthearted, spaniels are sensitive and if you aren’t mindful of that it will go wrong.
All the Mistakes I made with Milo I have made sure that they don’t get repeated with Flash! Is Flash an easier dog, well maybe or maybe it’s because I’m more educated now and I nurture his needs and mindset more.
This is where my passion as a dog trainer lies.. Looking after the dog as a whole, their mindset is so overlooked in traditional training and things need to change.
Results speak for themselves, Milo was the start of all this but I’ve now trained and worked with hundreds of dogs that have had huge transformations by following our training programmes.
In our foundation agility we teach far more than just the kit, we teach a formula that has worked, not just for Milo but for hundreds of dogs, it is the same formula that Lauren Langman (team GB and founder of Absolute Dogs) trains her own dogs by!
Yes our training is a little different to traditional classes but then who said change was a bad thing?
Traditional training not working?
Be the change you want to see in your dog!
See our website for details on all our training options.
Play… Train… Enjoy… Succeed!