Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Darling Mickey

      For over twenty years I have wanted to focus showing a talent with my dogs. Talent where I can show how well my dogs and I work together in tested precision. By this I mean, compete in a dog sport and be able to perform a beautiful dance with my dog. I've done herding, Agility, Flyball, Canine Freestyle Dance and even tried Search and Rescue. However, not to any advance level. I only dabbled. I have trained my own hearing dogs, which is not competition, but life work. I attended several conferences about canine behavior, training canines and even training chickens to get better at training canines. I have been a licensed veterinary technician, worked in many veterinary hospitals, worked at a dog kennel and for a dog groomer. I also got my Bachelor's degree in Zoology. It is obvious that I have done a lot of work with animals and dogs, but I have never been keenly serious in showing a talent.

        I originally wanted to compete in competition obedience, but I felt it too rigid in my early years. Since then I have changed my ideas and decided to go forward. However, my idea of how to approach this precision training has changed drastically. Currently, I have a dog who I think has great potential in competition obedience. It is mostly due that I need an easy dog since I'm new to the competitive world. I understand concepts of training, but as one great teacher, Bob Bailey, has taught, training is a mechanical skill. You get good by doing it. The reading and learning about it is to set the foundation for the mechanical part. I do agree with Morten Egtvedt and Cecilie Køste that "....9 out of 10 clicker trainers use the technology poorly!" There is a lot of watered down poor information out there. I'm so fortunate that I have had the opportunity to take a Chicken Camp seminar with Bob and Marian Bailey. They really teach the science. All my years I found I learned sloppy skills. Learning with the Baileys brought me light years beyond anything I have ever learned.

       I have learned the correct skills, but have gotten horribly lazy over the years. I have the knowledge, now it is time to put it into a mechanical skill. This is what I am setting out to do. Do the trial and errors, think about what I'm doing, plan, take records and learn from myself. My biggest pitfall in all my training has been not training. It has been a huge hurdle. I enjoy doing it, but for some reason, I'm not moving through. Now is the time to do so. My desire is there, but not my action. This blog is about my journey in taking my 23 years of training dogs to action since the past handful of years, I have lost myself. Now I'm going to get back on track. I have a wealth of knowledge and need to put it to use before more is forgotten. This is my story with getting Mickey and myself in the ring.

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