Coach Dennis Green became infamous for repeatedly saying
are who we thought they
The questions are "Do we ever really know what makes others "tick”? and
then "Do we
really even know who we are?"
To set the premise, I can only speak
from a singular perspective. Mine has been “formed” over a
plus journey. I think I know who I am and persist in not remaining
static. Which means tomorrow I will be somewhat different. If that were
not true there is no way I would pursue these
I'm searching for explanations of what I think my training program
is. It should be a bit more
than a list of things I do and/or not
simply labeled with the
author's name (to the letter or not).
Given the present trend of using a program to train a retriever, I often
wonder how that fits in with
knowing what I do. Using a parallel
example, a school district with four high schools was informed
finale agreement was reached on the new chemistry text. For the next
several years, students
would use this well written and
"advanced" book. It is structured like most texts, but has a new style
and is unique (aren't they all). This exciting, new text becomes the
next best “program” for teaching
chemistry using all the up-to-date,
accepted technology plus it is well written and easy to read.
It is a given that the basic concepts of chemistry are well defined and
an excellent teacher becomes
so by learning, adjusting and applying.
Meshing the skills of a teacher with the talents of each student
constantly changing challenge. Learning is complicated because we don't know
mind set, the teacher's skills or the students' potential
and not all of those are a constant.
For example, the talented, experienced teachers have a feel for the
correct way to present ideas, how
to mold perceptions, when to push and
when to back off. After all, they are experienced and should
In many cases the manner in which lessons (from the text) are presented
will be modified or
even bypassed because the experienced “know a better and/or familiar,
It is interesting to observe
how the inexperienced teachers fresh from college or having never
taught chemistry before cope. Some will take the independent
approach and tend to plunge ahead
with an “I can do this approach.”
Others may defer to an experienced teacher asking for input. This
approach is an attempt to employ “tried and true” methods because they have
none of their
The problem is two fold..........the novice
know who they are and may not understand the
teacher. It takes time to become comfortable with yourself and
perspectives are usually in a state of flux. The
term inexperienced covers a lot of ground.
directions is inefficient because “directions”
likely coming from a very different perspective.
Applying the previous premise, how many religiously follow every single
step of a retriever "program"
and I don't mean “the list”.....like in
where swim-by fits in or when (or if) you do stick fetch,
etc.? I find
the process almost impossible to
quantify........then add in the variables necessary to "reach"
you often vary presentations “outside the box”? Examples would be how
one might setup a
training day wingers, “stand alones”, send backs,
frequency of group training,
birds often (or
training areas and the list is far from finite. Given the complexity of
the peripheral considerations
involved in training, there is much to deal
beyond actual teaching.
And yet, teaching should be the
primary focus. Books, programs, heeling sticks, e-collars, check
cords don't teach. Programs present
present short "titles" of what to do next with a sequential theme.
However, there is little instruction on how
to present and rarely a rationale (why?). There should be a
which focuses on teaching. Rarely is that ever attempted.
The basic problem is most written programs are a set of directions without
the "what to do if things
go south " and/or with the "how to's" missing. For
the so called visual learner, DVD's show you what
it looks like when it
is done correctly (most of the time), but it is often difficult "see"
the subtleties of
how it was accomplished. In essence, you won't learn what you need to do
(the how to)....only what
it should look like if it is done
Here's an example. I was in the race horse business for many years.
After awhile I decided to trim
my yearlings' hooves instead of having
the blacksmith do them. After all, watching him very often it
rather simple. Ha! It wasn't. Bloody hands and a sore back were constant
several attempts, it wasn't AS difficult.
Then a few years later, I decided, my yearlings' first set of horse
shoes should be put on by me. I'd
blacksmith often with same discovery. It looked a whole lot easier
when he was doing it.
And even after my first, it was clearly obvious
mine were not professionally done. Seeing is believing
it can happen.
Doing means you've found your way. Try and deal with these three questions. “Do you know who you are?” (and if
not) "How are you
going to deal with not knowing?” The last fits in with the
beginning...“Do others really know who you
The bottom line is motivation, doing it yourself and getting past the "I
really didn't realize it took more
than just reading a book, watching a
DVD or even seeing someone else work at it". You can't really
learn much unless the proper mindset is in place. Decide on becoming
more aware and focus on
teaching. Get involved with more than just
Most think they are ready to "Go" but have never been past "Baltic
Avenue" and those first steps
should be based on more than a roll of the
next up: the "How to get started".......prioritized.