Saffy is a very sweet dog!

Today I had a lesson. Today I taught a lesson. I rode Wiser with Laurie’s watchful eyes on me, then we swapped services so Laurie, and Saffy, could learn about loose leash walking and basic principles of positive training.

I have had hundreds of lessons over my lifetime – dog sport, horse sport, and lots of other kinds too. I have taught hundreds of lessons as well – horse sport, dog sport and more. I love teaching; I love learning.

Laurie and I were cracking each other up as so many of the basic principles we were each reviewing as instructors were the same. Pay attention. Think about your body. Be correct – don’t let your partner change the way you do things. Timing matters. Reward type and placement is important. Build slowly and carefully from success to success. Enjoy the journey – this is FUN!

Today reminded me of one the big truths I have discovered. Knowing who you are and what you want to get out of a learning experience matters. It is more important that most of us realize to understand who we are, our strengths and gaps and how we can learn most effectively.

Laurie hasn’t had a lesson with a dog for a very long time, perhaps for ever. She teaches many riding lessons every week though. She found the work of organizing her thinking, the leash, and being aware of where Saffy was exhausting, and a little bit frustrating.

I haven’t taught basic manners class material in a long time so it was great to see that she needed to see how to hold a leash, that she wanted to be told exactly what to do. She isn’t as far along the learning path as Wiser and I and giving her the same degree of choice we get is unfair to her. I channelled my inner Denise and Nancy and said “do this” over and over again. It worked. It worked really well. She was thrilled. Saffy was excellent.

I take lessons, I teach lessons. The juxtaposition of these is a very very good thing. I would not be as good a student without teaching and I would not be as good an instructor without learning. Finding that balance point to be harmonious with yourself is such a worthwhile investment in time.

Take care of yourself. That makes taking care of everyone else so very much easier!

If you aren’t sure who you are as a learner or person, if you don’t have clarity around yourself in animal sports, or maybe you just need a refresher – my course All in Your Head starts August 1st over at Fenzi Dog Sport Academy. You can enroll in it any time after July 22. This course matters, it changes the way you think about yourself, your partner and your sport. It will give a better understanding of who you are and how that affects your game. You can read lots of testimonials that move me deeply if you scroll down right here!! This course comes around once a year and it’s a great place to start working on being your best self for your dog, for you, for life!