Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finding your Hidden Talent

I believe that each of us is blessed with a natural talent. For some people it’s art, whether it’s drawing, knitting, quilting, or maybe photography. For others it might be fixing mechanical things, or maybe you’re great at math. If you are really lucky, you have several things you excel at.

I also believe your dog “comes” with natural talents, Maybe he’s good at ‘holding position’, AKA – Stays: Seeker is great at this, but then again….maybe it was the crate games? Maybe your dog is a natural for collection, or he came with the ‘weave gene’, ‘heeling gene’, or ‘cuddle gene’. Maybe that talent is still hidden ‘inside’ your dog, and you just haven’t discovered it yet. Regardless, I’m sure it’s there, just waiting to present itself.

Some people are just naturally good trainers, for whatever reason, dogs are like a blob of clay to them, just waiting to be formed. For others, dog training is a struggle; leaving the trainer feeling like they are all thumbs. Regardless, there is always something to learn, and improve upon. ALWAYS!

In the last few months friends and acquaintances have brought home new puppies. It’s enough to give even me puppy fever! For the majority of these people, it’s not their first ‘performance’ puppy. I don’t think I’m risking much by saying they all have big dreams for their puppies. I think this is great!
Dream BIG! 
Stretch your training. 
Grow together. 

(My favorite puppy picture - 4 people (Melinda, Linda, Krista, Bill),
8 arms, 11 PWD puppies - they couldn't handle it!  
(Nina is in there somewhere, she's the PERFECT one!)

For some of us, this might mean stepping outside of our comfort zone. Training a new puppy differently, than we did the last one, can be kind of scary. I think most of us have some concerns when it comes to ‘screwing’ up our newest additions. This is probably natural, but you’ll become a better trainer by trying some new things and thinking outside the box.  Searching for your hidden talent.

You might also want to step back and honestly evaluate what you’ve accomplished with your most recent dog. I’m not saying accomplishment is everything, but it ‘might’ be a good measurement of where your training is, and maybe where it needs to go. So, ask yourself, “Did we consistently achieve our goals”. Did we exceed our expectations? Did we accomplish that ‘Big Dream’?

If the answer is ‘yes’, by all means, repeat what worked for your last dog. You might need to fine tune a few things, here or there, as every dog is different. On the whole however, you probably have a really good training plan.

If the answer is ‘no’ however, it might be time to re-evaluate your training strategy. If you’re falling short of your goals, change may be in order. It’s time to take a step back, get out of your comfort zone, and give something else a try. Take your training to that next level. As Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

I don’t get a new puppy very often. I know that only have a limited number of dogs to train in my lifetime. I need to be picky about which puppy comes home with me, and how I choose to train it. I also know that I’ve learned a lot from our past dogs, and I’m hopefully building on that knowledge to make the training easier for our new additions. I sure hope I’m not living up to Albert’s quote!  Are you?

I wonder if Albert ever had a dog?

He seems like more of a cat person to me!


  1. I think my hidden talent is math... can I trade it in for better dog training skills?

    I have already started a "puppy skills" list for the next puppy... Albert Einstein was right :-)

  2. Goooooood timing on this post!! :)

    YES to the fear of messing up!

    YES to evaluations!

    YES to it all.

    Wanna puppy sit my lumpy clay til it's done with the naughty phase? :D

  3. Good post, Tammy. Our dogs will make us better trainers if we keep an open mind and let them.

    I remember the summer that pic was taken. OMG, those PWD pups were out of control. Can't believe you brought one home!

    And yes, Meme, I've started a puppy skills list for the next whatever-it-is too!

  4. Great message, Tammy. It's always difficult to focus forward and feel good about it rather than worrying about things that could go wrong. Human nature seems to like to worry more than to just enjoy and focus on the joy and fun. The training is always easy because the dogs will simply "tell" you what they need by their actions. Each dog makes us better trainers, if you just relax, be patient, and enjoy the process.

    BTW, Marsha, I am a Math and Computer science major/geek/nerd. I think math and specifically enjoying the process of solving problems helped me as a dog trainer.

    See you guys this weekend. Can't wait to see the grass!!!