As trainers many of us have a far greater understanding of the dog and the approaches and techniques for teaching him various exercises than does the average person. Because of our knowledge and experience, we are often able to train a dog quickly. We have learned to recognize when we are pushing too hard and when to reinforce or correct. Our training may take place in a distraction free area so that the dog’s attention is on learning. We may be very successful in achieving our goals of high scores and earned titles. These successes may tend to reinforce our own commitment to the particular training methods we used.
However as instructors, the training methods and techniques we present must be those the average person can handle. Not only will the student lack the background knowledge of canine behavior, he will lack the ability to read his dog and apply those messages to his training. Introducing green students to methods that require some degree of expertise can have disappointing results, even though those methods may be easier for the dog to learn. The techniques used in class must be those the student can understand and use successfully.
This is why it is important for instructors to continue to study the methods they prefer as trainers as well as the methods of others. Studying involves understanding the
method, knowing how to explain to the student the way he should handle his dog and what signals the need for reinforcement or correction and indicates progress.
What it all boils down to is this: an instructor must understand what he wants to accomplish, how he wants to do it, and, the hardest part, be able to explain it all to the student who knows relatively little about dogs. It is easy to take the dog and have him work for you, but it is a challenge to explain to the student how to do it himself.
©1973 W. H. Morrison, III