What does it mean to master something? Truly master something? What would a master say to someone who hasn’t mastered their skill?
It seems like lately, I’ve been dealing with a lot of doubt in owners. I’m not sure why. It could be the pandemic stressing people out, or the election, or any number of things really. This year has been a test of our collective and individual wills.
Many of the owners of who I work with seem to be struggling more than usual. I am having to give pep talks a lot more frequently. Owners are having set backs, struggling with mastering skills and techniques, getting discouraged. And that’s okay and here’s why:
Training and modification, on any kind, takes time.
Let that sink in. Training and modification takes time. The skills that I am teaching you took me a long time to master, and even now, I am still learning, developing, and rethinking what I know. To me, mastery doesn’t mean that I can stop learning or stop practicing, it means that I have learned that time is the greatest teacher, and patience is the classroom.
Let’s think about this for a moment. Doctors don’t master medicine, they practice it. Athletes do not master a sport, they practice. They don’t stop learning. Dog trainers, true dog trainers, are the same way. We do not master our craft, we are mastering it. Actively mastering it. There are no master dog trainers, there are trainers that are pursuing their goals and constantly honing their skills and expanding their knowledge.
So what do owners do? You do what you can. I’m going to say that again, so you understand exactly I am saying: YOU DO WHAT YOU CAN. You aren’t a trainer. You don’t always have the time to train. And while I try to recommend ways to work this into your schedule, that doesn’t always work.
Do not get disheartened. You have something that I don’t: constant exposure to your dog. I am not here to fix the problem right away. I am here to give you the tools so that you can keep working with your dog when I’m not there. Remember, you are the one living with your dog, not me. You have all the time in the world, literally the rest of your dogs life, to get this right. And as long as you keep trying, keep working, remain patient and persistent, then you will see progress.
Keep up the good work everyone! We’ll get through this. You and your dog will get through this. And I’ll be here to help you along every step of the way.
Happy Tails everyone!