If You Could Go Back in Time

Would you have trained your dog any differently?

I read an excellent thread over at the Gundog Forum that covers a topic I've thought about from time to time. Nowicki2005 writes:

If you could go back and change 1 thing that you would have trained your dog differently in regards to, what would it be and why?

Among my favorite opines is one from tommyboy72, who writes:

Another thing I would change was more patience on my part. I get impatient when it takes a pup 7 or 8 times of being in the field to work out what we are looking for and to stop and point rather than flush. That isn't fair to the dog and is really dumb on my part by trying to let them figure out things on their own and getting impatient when it takes them more time than what I think is necessary to do it.

Tommyboy raises an issue that's very important: You have to let the dog set your training regimen's pace. Some are faster learners than others. If you have a pre-determined timeline in your head, you're setting yourself up for failure.

I'm not afraid to admit I've made some rather embarassing training errors, especially when I was getting my start as an amateur trainer. One such error was giving a high-powered springer waaaay too many training pheasants one summer before he was ready. I also let his obedience slip during these bird-heavy training sessions, because I was young, stupid and over-eager for my dog to flush the birds. He was so bird crazy by the end of it that he had control issues for the rest of his life. If I could do it all over, I'd definitely use a more structured training regimen with that dog--more obedience and yard work, fewer birds during training sessions and I'd keep a better handle on him on the birds I did plant.

What are some of the training mistakes you've made? How have you learned from them?

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1 Response to If You Could Go Back in Time

Anon Ymous wrote:
August 18, 2009

You might not know that, in addition to being a dog trainer, Kyle is also a talented Cher impressionist. To hear his dulcet tones as he karaokes to "If I Could Turn Back Time" is to recognize his Cher-imitating skills. Glad to see he's hinting at his other pastime in his blog.