I wanted to write this blog post today to share with everyone that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all have embarrassing moments. We all have cock ups.
Okay so that sounds pretty deep right? And could apply to all aspects of life, but I want to specifically talk about dog training.
As a trainer I’m often paranoid that people look at me and expect my dogs to be perfect, that everything I do with my dogs should be exactly right.
In reality they probably aren’t, but it’s an expectation that I put on myself, and as a result I tend to filter what I put on social media accordingly, deleting the mistakes and only uploading photographs, videos and posts that makes everything look hunky dory.
But to show you all that it’s completely normal to have mistakes and cock ups, that we all go through struggles and we all have down days, here are some of my biggest dog training misfortunes;
~ Zebby loves to sniff peoples crotches! He’ll stick him nose right in there and give a good sniff, regardless of whether he has just met this person or if he has known them for ages.
~ Guinness will not retrieve. He will drop a toy when he is ready for it to be thrown again but he doesn’t drop it anywhere near me, and before I knew it I was going and picking the toy up for him and throwing it again and we got stuck in a habit.
~ Both Zebby & Guinness have espcaped on separate ocassions.
~ Guinness often breaks his wait before I release him.
~ Zebby once caught a live rat.
~ Items chews by either dogs: 1 newly bought t-shirt, 1 Christmas tree decoration, 2 guitar hero leads, several toilet rolls, many poo bags…. the list goes on
~ Food stolen & eaten; 1 packet of chicken stock cubes, 1 terry’s chocolate orange, 1 sandwich, 1 sausage (that was still under the grill!), a couple of slices of cheese…. again, the list goes on.
Mistakes are bound to happen, but what you do when they happen and afterwards is what matters.
If you arrived to a dog training class and your dog really wasn’t coping, what would you do? Leave? Change your goals? Or try to muddle through?
Would you return to the same class again? Speak to the instructor?
If your dog failed to recall while chasing some birds what would you do? Shout at them? Try to distract them? Go and get them?
What would you do next time you see some birds during a walk? What would you do before letting your dog off-lead again?
While prevention is the best approach to dog training the most important lessons can be learnt from making mistakes.
No one is perfect.