What would be the one thing that will make you a better dog trainer this year, this month, this week, or even this very day?
Everyone is familiar with "New Year's" resolutions, new year-new me. A lot of people like to rag on people who do this because most people fall off the wagon.
So what I did this year is rather than write a resolution, which by the way I haven't done in years as I also find it invaluable, I instead wrote a letter to 2018. This actually got me riled up.
Have you ever written a letter to someone? a charged up letter? Like an EFF-YOU letter? That's pretty much what I did. It helped me at least.
So without further ado, I'll list some things that can make you a better dog trainer this year!
OPEN YOUR MIND:
Yes, just open your mind. I know it sounds trivial but becoming a better dog trainer is as simple as seeing different views other than your own.
This means reading and looking into material that you're NOT familiar with. Even if the thought of it makes you slightly uncomfortable.
Simply put, if you are a die hard Purely Positive trainer, read material written by Balanced Trainers, maybe actually "talk" to some of these balanced trainers. You'd be surprised at how many dog trainers are actually willing to talk if you ask with an open mind.
Same on the flip side! If you're a Balanced trainer, read some material written by a Purely Positive author. As a Balanced trainer you may tell yourself "But I started as a Purely Positive Trainer". True, you may have already been exposed to that and decided there's more to just using two sides of the quadrant, but the perspective or refresher that some of these trainers offer can be valuable. I've found myself reading and watching material from Purely Positive trainers that made me go "hm, interesting", because you can learn or remember a bunch of things.
Even if you think "If I do read or watch material from X,Y,Z trainers, I know 90% of it will be BS". GREAT!! That means there's 10% of good info that can make you better.
CAUTION: This caution will be a bit of a contradiction to what I just said. But there are things I will just not look at. Material from trainers who have consistently proven to be incompetent. It takes experience to be able to discern this and you would know who is incompetent by actually watching or reading some of their material. So technically, you still want to be open minded and explore methods and trainers you're not familiar with, if anything, at least to be able to say "I don't like him/her".
DECIDE TO BE BETTER:
I know this sounds very Tony-Robbins like but it's imperative that you don't just expect to be better by accumulating years under your belt. I used to think that a while ago but I can't tell you how many times I've met dog trainers who have had years of experience who were absolutely clueless!! These people talk about their experience like it's a badge, and it's NOT! Some of the dumbest things I've seen and heard came from people with "Years of Experience".
Basically, going through the motions again and again will NOT make you a better dog trainer. You actually have to WANT to be better. You have to TRY to be better. You have to DECIDE to be better. You have to ACT on that decision and BE better. This means approaching EVERY training session as if it's your first and your last training session rather than just looking at it as "just another dog".