Brief intro: here at Dogs & Country we are often looking to publish good articles, articles dog people can benefit from. I (Rossella) was therefore very happy when Tok Mostert, from Sweden, accepted to share his writings with us and our readers. At the moment, unfortunately, I do not have time to translate them in Italian, but if anyone wants to help out with the translation, I’d be happy to share that as well 🙂
Part 1: We are losing legendary methods
Two years ago I came into the hunting dogs world, I knew nothing, I could not make a dog sit or stay, much less retrieve, track or hunt birds. Sure I tried and watched videos and read as much as I could, but it is not the same. I saw a man handle a dog in the field one day, and I understood that I needed help. Needed may be the wrong word, craved is more in line with what I felt.
You ask opinions on trainers and you get maybe 10 different opinions on every trainer, good, bad, asshole you name it, for everyone that had a good thing to say, there was 10 others with bad things to say. Screw it, I thought, I will find the right help by simply looking at whose dog I see doing what I want my dog to do and ask who help to train him or her. I did not ask for opinions anymore, I set a goal and found a trainer that suited this goal. When I wanted my dog to have discipline, I went to a man called Jeppe Stridh. Almost two years later, I still go to him, because a dog is never finished, you evolve, the dog evolves, you want to test the limits and see how far the dog will go, and most of the time it is the handler that holds the dog back by not challenging him more. This and reinforcing the old commands again and again is a never ending journey, get use to it and enjoy it.
A few things I remember, sure I forgot many:
- Train the owner to train the dog, much harder than it sounds.
- Learn how to read your dog.
- 95% Praise, 5% Correction, always time the correction perfectly.
- Make sure you understand the commands before you try teaching the dog, otherwise keep your mouth shut.
- A collar and a leash are restraints, they can only control a dog by your side. Respect and trust are what makes an invisible leash that stretches as far as your voice, or whistle, carries.
- Do not train with a attitude, dogs do not respond well to assholes (yeah, I heard that a lot).
- If your dog keeps making the same mistake you are doing something wrong, not the dog.
- If you are always doing something wrong, get help.
- Different dogs need different touches while training.
- No matter how good is the trainer you are working with, if you do not put in the effort yourself, you are wasting your time and a good dog!
I can write a hundred more points to ponder, but that’s not the point.
Men like Jeppe are few and far in between and we are not taking the opportunities to listen and learn from them. They are the here and now Legends of the dog world that we need to learn from, so all that knowledge will not disappear one day. Not to make us better, but to keep future generations at the top of the game. Yes, dog training evolves and people keep reinventing the wheel, but in the end its results that count and he is one of the Legends who’s methodology always works if applied right.
Books, DvD’s and video clips are great, but they lack the essential personal touch that a true Legend brings to training a dog. One Legend’s method may not fit you or your dog, but there is always one who’s method will.
The most common comments I hear from judges these days is that dogs lack discipline. This is where I started with Flake and thus Part 1, Part 2 will cover retrieving and tracking with a Legend that flies under the radar.