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Never say ‘never…’

September 6, 2009 Comments off
toolbox
Image by smussyolay via Flickr

I will NEVER use (fill in the blank.)

I will NEVER do (fill in the blank.)

I will NEVER say (fill in the blank.)

Go ahead, admit it. If you’re like most dog trainers, you’ve probably thought to yourself or said out loud at least one of those ‘I will NEVER’ statements. Maybe all of them.

But here’s the thing — every dog, every owner, every training issue or course question is unique. Train enough dogs, run enough courses, handle enough challenges and sooner or later, ‘never’ will start to seem a little unreasonable. ‘Never’ will turn into ‘well, maybe just this once.’ Something that always responds to X will simply not work in that situation or will stop working, and you’ll have to re-group. This is what dog training is — it’s a growth and evaluative process. You have to keep challenging yourself, or you won’t bring your dog to his full potential as your companion. You have to keep challenging your dog, or eventually he’ll decide no mas. Dog training in many ways is just like Covey’s 7 Habits of Successful People: you have to continually sharpen the saw to stay at your best and to keep your dog there, too.

So, if you think they’re some aspect of dog training that you’ll never do, say or use, think again. Take the time to learn about them, practice them hands-on before you toss them out of your toolbox. You’ll never know until you try them whether you might need them someday.

Every dog is unique; the things he shares with other dogs you’ve trained before will strike you but the things that make that dog unique will be what you remember more quickly.

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