Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Clinic lessons

Dustin and I recently went to a Patrick Shannahan clinic that my friend Jamie Spring hosted. It was GREAT!! Dustin took Kat and I took Uno and Cash. It was a relaxed clinic and it kind of felt like just a bunch of friends getting together to work dogs. In my opinion, that's the way to go.

I realize everyone gets something different out of each new experience with a clinician. The two main thoughts I keep repeating to myself now are, "Responsibility" and "Energy".

I tend to be a person who is a bit "buzzed up" when it comes to the energy I put out there. I also seem to be drawn to dogs that may have a bit of that in them as well. We tend to become a pretty energetic partnership! :-) So, now my goal is to become very aware of when I'm throwing energy at an already energized situation and bring myself back down. I've been seeing such a big difference in my dog's when I can do that so I know what a big deal it is for me.

I also like to work/train/run dogs that are very natural and who can do a job without being told every step. On the other hand I want a dog that's flexible enough to let me take the reins when needed. I needed a reminder and got a good one at Patrick's clinic about letting the dog have some responsibility for themselves. I was really fighting with Uno lately because for some reason I was not letting her be responsibile for the line on a drive. I wanted total control (not sure why) over it and she was getting downright squirrely because of it. When I gave her the responsibility back she relaxed and was holding a line again like a champ. We still have work to do on it, for both her and myself, but it was nice to get a wake up call to remind me of what I'm aiming for here.

Dustin had a great time as well and takes instruction SO much better from someone else besides his mother. He really seems to take in what Patrick has to say and comes home recharged to do a better job with his dog.

If any of you ever get a chance to attend one of Patrick's clinic's, I highly recommend it.

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