Seeing The Dog In Front Of You

Ok, so firstly an apology….we missed a week – where on earth did that week go, its all a blur of pizza, pasta, prosecco and ice cream!

Last week I was away in Italy competing at the IFCS World Agility Championships and let’s just say trying to find a wifi signal was like mission impossible! I’ll be doing a blog post on my experiences at the world championships soon and the many things I learned.

But, in the meantime…I wanted to share something with you thats close to my heart. And that’s the ability to actually see and appreciate the dog in front of you!

It sounds simple right and many people wouldn’t give it a second thought but, and this is a big but…

Many people are missing some of the most special parts and moments with their dogs!…

They can’t see past what they wish their dog was, by the desire for the dog to behave differently because this is how their previous dog was or maybe they are blinded by what they think is or isn’t possible because of their dogs breed or other peoples’ expectations.

So in this week’s blog video I’m going to share with you some of the biggest insights I’ve had with both my own dogs and my clients dogs over my teaching career when it comes to clearing your mind of pre conceived ideas and seeing the dog that’s actually stood right in front of you!

  • Jackie Lawer

    Really interesting, thank you Lauren. I am currently training two agility dogs. My older one was very quick to pick up shaping and never, ever goes flat. He is happy to fail and try and try again. My younger dog is more sensitive and I must admit not everything is working the same way. I am constantly having to think how I can alter my training to help get the best out of him. It is a work in progress but we are enjoying the journey together now and will get there. It may just take a little more time. 🙂

  • Helen Kimberley

    Agree totally with you Lauren, every dog is different & some need completely different training methods.
    Elle looks totally confident, but is extremely sensitive. She loves work but hates failure & can be really turned off by it, so if 2 attempts don’t work – do something else & most times the original item works next time. She is a very scared of balance girl, but will do anything for a retrieve – using that helped her with dog walk & A Frame & has helped with seesaw. However she gets bored easily & I find the constant repetition also switches her off.
    It doesn’t help that I can’t do most of the manoeuvres required in agility, so she also has to cope with that. (& I’m short tempered with people!) She is also much faster than my previous Goldens, so is needing things faster.

    Having had 5 dogs do agility it is amazing how (despite all being related) all have different styles – though some similarities – & have all needed different help at stages.

    Ele & I love the agility & have had a few clear rounds that I’m over the moon about. So thanks for the help & ongoing help.

  • Rose Disney

    Such a helpful video, thank you. My Molly has been a natural on the sheep since she could walk and just soooo keen to work. Her pups however, are much more laid back and I keep thinking this means they wont be any good but I think as you say, I just need to look at them from a different angle and work with what I’ve got. Some of them do agility too by the way, lol.

  • Steina Jenkins

    Hi Lauren,
    I have a 50/50 dog of two breeds, English bull terrier and , Border collie! He is the sharpest dog I have ever had the pleasure of working with, but having the bullie in him has been quite a challenge. He can either belt it round a course or plod, depending on day, mood , excitement and motivation. Training wise I have to keep it very fast and exciting and can’t do more than 2-3 repetitions or he looks at me and says, I’ve done that already! I have to play on the line and get him on a high before he goes in the ring or he wont kick in until halfway through or not at all. Some times he wont play on the line and that’s not helpful at all. I just try to make training as fun as I can and hope it rubs off in the ring! He loves agility and always chooses to take a jump rather than go around it but is very influenced by the people and dogs around that are his friends, ending up on top of the dog walk looking at them ! Hey Guys! I’m up here!! such a clown! love him to bits!

    Thanks for all your useful Info! Steina

  • I love this, all dogs are different. I have two customers who are chocolate labradors from the same litter that I walk regularly and they come to my classes, they couldn’t be more different in personality, drive and energy levels.

    My dogs –

    Mackeson, 9yr old chocolate labrador – He is just so happy & dozy, he has no idea what he is doing most of the time but he loves it!! His retrieves are the funniest thing I have ever seen and when he gets excited he stamps and laughs. I love every minute of being with this dog, he is so gentle and sweet that the rabbits chase him out of our garden!

    Pudgey, 8yr old springer x collie – He is ever so clever, everything I teach him he gets it within seconds and loves to work and be kept busy. I find since training him I almost find other dogs very slow to catch on! I want to have 30 of this dog!

    Bosun, 6yr old mastiff x staffie x whippet – We struggled with recalls when we first got him from rescue (he used to clear 6 fields in seconds) and it took a while for him to acknowledge we were even there when out on walks, so he has come really far and continuing to learn. He didn’t care for food or toys or praise when out, but now he is very very toy driven, especially tennis balls. He will do anything for a ball, he will give 100% effort to anything you ask him to do if there is a ball involved. We also gave him a voice by teaching him to speak, and now the bugger will bark at us when we are in “his chair”.

    Missy, 6yr old shepherd x mastiff – She is such a sensitive soul and needs training with minimal words but lots of clicks, treats, toys and smiles. She gets so happy when she gets something right, and she is a real “thinker” when it comes to training, we think she was harshly trained before we got her 2yrs ago as she can be unwilling to learn and will get upset if we speak too loudly or put in too much enthusiasm when asking her to do something.
    She is very affectionate and loving, we have a long way to go but we love the bond that we have with her.

    Kiba, 4yr old spaniel x chihuahua – This girl is nuts, she is known in our house as “wee mental kibby” and she lives up to it! Kiba is incredibly enthusiastic about food and learning, she needs a lot of impulse control work but she loves every minute of learning new things. We have had her for about 10 months now and she is doing so well, we love her hilariously nutty ways and how quick she is both in speed and in learning.

  • Helene Lawson

    Hello Lauren, I could not agree more how different dogs can be within their breed and different again as a breed. I had three flatcoat retrievers. My first one was absolutely mad and did more head over heels than actually walking. Morgan and Millie were different again and going over to Border Collies was another eye opener. Archie, my 7 yr old border collie is a highly aroused dog and thinking can be very difficult, so handling him is always a challenge. Riley, my Devongem Born Free is an absolute delight, he wants to please and is the most considerate dog to train. Archie is a retriever and ball obsessed. Riley could not care less about a ball and loves stalking, while Archie rather chases. But both dogs are completely chilled out at home and both always ready to work.

  • Kara

    I have three dogs two borders and an aussie. They are all very different but none more so than my middle dog a BC named Twitch. He is the softest most sensitive dog with very easily hurt feelings. Complete opposite of my first agility dog Chevy the Aussie. With twitch it was a brutal learning curve. repeating drills caused him to shut down. a sigh or dropping my shoulders when something didn’t go well caused him to slink out of the ring with his tail between his legs. Too much pressure and he melted. I ended up taking him out of agility training for a year ( i am very competitive and was comparing him too much to Chevy, and pushing too hard). We did sheep herding for a year while i re organized my training plan for him. When we got back into agility we never repeated a drill. If he made a mistake i pretended honestly that that was what i wanted, we stopped and celebrated EVERY tiny success. His confidence grew by leaps and bounds and within a month i had a very happy fast dog on course. Sweet Twitch ended up receiving his ATCH while he was only 3 years old and taught me an enormous amount about how small things can erode a dogs confidence and drive. My third dog a BC name Swerve has hugely benefited from everything i learned from Twitch and he is the epitome of the high drive balls to the wall BC. Love them all but there is a special place for Twitch

  • Peggy A Sidewater

    A really interesting point, like jackie and Kara, I have a dog who appears very bold but is so much more sensitive in his need to get every thing “right” than anyone I have had before. He hates to feel he has failed at anything to the extent that he will “go lame” for a couple of stride because he has found this gets what he is finding as pressure taken off . It took me a day with Sarah Fisher of T touch to see that if I looked and thought about what the dog in front of me was feeling instead of listening to what people said about him. He would tell me what he was finding a problem. Light bulb moment, I now listen to him, tell me what he thinks and we agree about what to do and I find he was actually trying to talk to me far more than I realised.

  • AgilePoodle

    This is especially true when you maintain the same breed – in my case, toy poodles. My last boy and I trained and competed together for years – we were a well oiled machine. I struggle with my newer guys, because the same training methods don’t work for them. It’s an uncomfortable position for me to be in, because I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. I need to learn to embrace the differences!!

  • Elliewells

    I have a very small 2 year old jack russell x who can be quite strong minded but needing confidence. Focus can be a big issue with her, any tips? She s great when we get it together but takes a few runs to really ‘get in the zone’ with her!

  • Debbie Prince

    My little black lab is food driven but also wants to please. She is also a mummys girl and getting her to work away from me in agility is tricky. However when we are out on a walk and she often becomes deaf to me and decides to run off and do her own thing! My GSD is punchy when we are at home and learns quickly however getting any focus at all when we are out especially at a show is almost impossible as she worries a lot. I need to address how I train both these dogs after watching your video as I don’t think I am getting the best out of either dog yet…. needless to say these are my first proper dogs so I am on a steep learning curve too!