The sport of dog agility is a fairly small world. There are only a handful of training systems and trainers tend to be very passionate about which system they have chosen. One of the most well-known trainers, popular mainly for her positive-only methods, is Susan Garrett.
Quite frankly, Ms. Garrett intimidates the crap out of me. It’s not all the titles she has won with her impressive dogs; that is just a side note. Many people have earned many ribbons. No, what overwhelms me the most is her conviction. When working with her dogs or teaching her students, Susan Garrett is absolutely one hundred percent confident. Even when she makes a mistake or something doesn’t work out, she doesn’t let it throw her off her game. Instead, she quickly re-evaluates and tries it differently the next time. This strong belief she has in her own abilities – combined with her extremely positive attitude – is why she has been so successful.
And why she terrifies me. I just can’t relate to that.
So I think I deserve some credit for bravery when I entered Susan Garrett’s second video contest in order to gain entry into her Recallers 3.0 online course. You or may not remember I submitted a video in the spring as well for the second installment of her course on teaching a better recall. It wasn’t very good or well-planned. I think I was shaking the entire time. But I did it. Unfortunately, time did not permit me to participate as actively as I would have liked. That and I am lazy. When I heard she was running a third one, I knew I had to screw my courage and try again. For Shiva’s sake.
Unfortunately, even after all our efforts, Shiva’s recall is still not brilliant. It’s better, much better, but not solid. Shiva will still always choose food over working with me. Even if that food is just a crumb of moldy bread. In my opinion, it is the one thing standing in our way from dog training glory. Sure and she is not exactly perfect at a great many other things, but I feel like if we could just get this down, if I could prevent her from running around the agility course like her head fell off, then all the other problems won’t matter.
Naive? Maybe. But I’ll take being naive with a perfect recall.
Is there an aspect of your training you have struggled with the most? If you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would change about your dog’s behaviour?