When the time is right
2 min read
We are becoming surrounded by a culture of fast. We are being sold that immediate gratification is the only solution and this is not restricted to youth as all ages can be persuaded. There is a likelihood that a feeling of running out of time as you progress with age may push you more towards fast and immediate solutions.
This fast, fast, faster culture has become the new mode in dog training. Why is fast training considered better or ever a solution?
Does fast training wall us off from asking deeper questions?
I do not want my dogs to be measured by a watch or by a calendar. No pressure to achieve certain development stages or expectations of what they should have learned by a certain date.
I do not want to measure them by research that persuades us development periods are fixed and that we should socially expose our dogs to a specific schedule.
I want to measure by confidence, personal and individual achievement. I want to explore social situations when the confidence and desire to do so is evident, not because some self-promotion guru thinks a list of party events, cultural gatherings and different surfaces should be checked off as if they are a graduation process.
I do not want a young border collie exposed to fast moving traffic before their no-chase skills are in place, their accompanying partner is fully aware of the risks and it will be a stress-less event. They may be two years old before that occurs, but the success of this process is decided by the individual, their learning history, their genetic make-up, the lifestyle. I see too many sad young dogs exposed to counter training when the situation should never have occurred so early.
I want time
I want time to enjoy the teaching process. As a learner I absolutely want to learn at a pace that enables me to make every step a step of success. I want to savour that success, roll around in it for a while, and then seek the next step when I feel ready. Feeling ready is about confidence and the energy needed to absorb new information. The process of absorption is delicate, it needs digestion time, it needs assimilation with the knowledge I already possess. Once it has arrived, melded into place I then need to remember to call upon it and integrate it in the way needed to gain mastery. This is particularly energy-greedy when it is a change to a motor skill or new way of thinking.
As a teacher I want to see my learner bloom and shine, have time to connect and enjoy their pleasure in learning. I want to explore who they are in this process.
I do not want to see them lose the shine in their eye as their confidence takes a knock when we make the next jump too high, when we are greedily following our agenda and not listening to theirs.
Allow a space to listen, enjoy the time to connect to the dog, try not to race on your agenda and certainly not on someone else’s agenda.
In this video Zip is struggling to learn that “life-essential” skill of placing her butt on the floor.
The topography of the behaviour is a screaming a need to be thoughtful, processing what I am asking for and then considering a response.
I pace the learning to suit her learning. Could I “make” her go faster? Yes, probably, but I do not think that would be of any benefit to her.
She needs her space to explore what it is she is learning – this is her agenda, not mine.