I had two different people message me about a video I posted last week with a discussion about teaching dogs leave it and drop it around real food in the kitchen. Just in case you didn't see the video, here's a link to it for reference: https://www.facebook.com/1193916201/videos/452575609815209/
Basically, one of the people who reached out is a veterinarian that I've known for years. She wanted me to know that she thought it was brave that I put myself and my dogs out there for people to "judge." I told her that's not it at all! I just have my own dogs' permission to use them to teach other people (they give their permission by participating freely; if they walk away, that's fine!); I don't use my clients' dogs for these teaching videos because I want them to feel safe and protected by practitioner/client privilege. I do have a few clients who love to see their pets featured in my posts and blogs and I am grateful for their generosity. And the purpose of these training videos is not to demonstrate how "perfect my dogs are." They are, in fact, flawed individuals just like their owner/handler, namely, me. We all make mistakes and I have always felt that mistakes are learning opportunities. So, if someone watching one of these training videos wants to say my videography skills need work, that's fine. Or, if they want to point out that my dog barked while we were working or was slow to comply, so be it. Again, I don't post the videos to show off; I post them to educate, entertain, and generate conversation about dogs and dog behavior. That's it! The other person who reached out to me about my video wanted to tell me that it "wasn't fair to do these videos" because my dogs were perfect. I cracked up at this! Again, they aren't perfect and we are all works in progress around here. I don't set perfection as a goal for myself , my family members, or my dogs. We are all just doing our best. But I did kind of appreciate that she thought Ozzie was perfect at leave it and drop it! We worked hard on that from the time he was a puppy. I think he did a great job demonstrating these behaviors and he wasn't a bit put off by the camera and tripod (sometimes he is and those are videos you never see!).
So why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to know that the rewards and satisfaction come from putting in the effort to work with your dogs, not from a perfect outcome. Sometimes your training sessions will go smashingly well and other times you will crash and burn. That's how it is with behavior change; steps forward and steps backward. And if you are working on behavior change with an anxious dog, there WILL be setbacks as they learn alternate behaviors that don't reinforce their anxiety. That's okay. Again, the saying is "nobody's perfect." Make it your mantra. Put in the effort. Give it your best. Reward your dogs for trying. Move on. There will be another day to train. Another teaching moment. Another opportunity to improve. Finally, don't compare where you are in your training journey with your dog to where someone else is. Their dog and their journey are different from yours. Even if you have the same breed of dog, related dogs, etc. Every dog is an individual and it isn't a reflection on you or your training skills if you need more time to work on something or you seek help for your dog.
I truly hope you enjoy these blog posts and the training videos and hints I share online. I am always grateful for your comments and feedback. I hope that they make you think, make you laugh, and make you smile. I hope that they bring you closer to your own dogs. I hope they make you appreciate the training journeys of other people and their dogs. And I truly hope you enjoy seeing my collies as much as I enjoy sharing them.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. As always, if you have questions about your pet's behavior, you know where to find me.