So last night was our latest attempt at finding the “right” fit for us, trainer/training-wise. I don’t want to jump the gun because it was only Night One, but…. I really, really liked her. This particular trainer has been in the sport for a while, but she also runs a large dog daycare and training facility, and has an Aussie rescue as well. She is a busy lady. I like that she is well-rounded and does more than just agility. I think this showed through in some of her training techniques too.
It didn’t hurt my like-factor towards her that she loooved Forest. She was really excited for us and said we are going to do really well—with some work on his motivation and my handling skills. She was brutally honest, but really positive about it all. No BS, but truly interested in us and our potential. It felt good.
Something new for me too was that she was way less concerned about us doing things “right” than making the correct training decisions according to the dog. And, everyone, but for us especially, she was all about getting the dog excited, even if it meant stopping what we were doing and completely changing the plan in order to get him motivated and having fun. I feel like she has a vast enough knowledge to tailor everything individually and make fluid plans and adjustments.
She also gave me a specific goal for the week—work on getting him motivated to interact with a certain toy he likes at home—and will also be bringing a flirt pole to class for us to try as a reward as well.
So overall, I feel really good about it. I have been searching for someone who looks at things from an overall, high-level training and actual behavior perspective rather than a “the dog is supposed to do X at Y”, or “this is the handling system that works”, or “I am here to teach at you for an hour, okay we’re done”. I think we may have found it.
And, RE the AKC table change hubbub… That is so funny to me. At first I wondered why have it all if there is no “position”, but then again now it seems it actually could be harder with no stationary position… As in, especially with a super-fast-mega-drivey dog, it will be tough to keep them on there it seems. And, how will the count work? Does the dog have to stand stock-still? What if he is tap dancing around? Do all four feet have to be glued to the table? I am slightly confused. At least we have plenty of time until then…
—Update— New trainer emailed me a handout on working on Toy/Play Drive. I am a sucker for handouts…!