In the last 12 months i have on numerous occasions reviewed all the beliefs that underpin how, and what we teach at SWAT.
I have done this firstly to ensure that we stay up to date with a sport that is developing at high speed. I don’t want to be doing something just because it is the way we have always done it. If i see, watch or read something that i believe can improve our systems then i want to incorporate it into what we do - i don’t want to stagnate.I have always had a love of learning, no matter what the subject - but that is increased ten fold when it is something i enjoy so much. It also means that i am a careful in what i incorporate, and who i place my trust in.
Secondly I wanted to ensure that Jo and I were being consistent in what we were teaching. We both had to have the same systems and beliefs or our members were going to be getting very mixed messages!
This process has meant that for the last two years i have been even more convinced that we were getting it right , not only for our own dogs but also for lots of other people - our members who are loyal and committed have gone from strength to strength and achieved some amazing personal successes.
Anyone who has been on a few of our workshops, and specifically a Jump Clinic, will have heard us say the same few phrases time and time again, along with the same explanations as to why certain foundation skills are key. We want our training to work for everyone - we will never say as a handler you need to get fitter and run faster - that is a cop out - dogs can be taught to work at a distance with speed and accuracy if you have good foundations.
Our key phrases are not fancy. They are not technical. No big words. But they work!
It is 4 sleeps until Bootcamp - and the first session that all handlers will attend is an explanation of how and why we do what we do. They will hear lots of our core phrases and have them explained. Over the course of the weekend they will be shown how these work and how to train them, and how these will improve their agility experience.
So what are some of our phrases. Over the next few blogs i will elaborate further. Nothing fancy or complicated, but good old common sense. I can assure you that this is what we have been saying for a long time, so if it sounds familiar to anything you are being told is brand new….. well…. hey ho! :-)
Consistency = Confidence = Speed.
Dogs that maintain their speed around a course, trust their handler. They have confidence in what they are doing and what they are being asked to do. They don’t expect to be met with any surprises! This trust and confidence is achieved by consistent handling - if a verbal or physical cue is required then it is used every time, not sometimes - rewards are always there when the dog correctly follows the directions given, not a reward some of the time.
Handlers are their dogs Sat Nav system - If your Sat Nav keeps getting it wrong, you drive very slowly checking out signs, thats if you use it all!
My next blog will expand on this further and explain how to be a more accurate Sat Nav. Please do contact us if you have any comments or queries. xx