Foundations by the Reel.

The other day I was rolling up a garden hose I found the job interesting. I know most people don't think while rolling up a garden hose; But I am getting older so my mind wanders. This was one of those times. What I found was that when I rolled the hose slowly an carefully I could get the entire 100 feet of hose on the reel. When I unrolled and went ' willy-nelly' at the rolling up the hose with no real pattern I could not get all the hose on the reel.

What does this have to do with Dog training ? Not a lot . But my thoughts were if I took my time set up a pattern and foundation and completely set a standard with each pass of the hose over the previous I could get all the hose on the reel . But if I set no pattern or foundation 'it' just never worked out right.

When we train dogs the foundation of 'sit down stay and come' are the foundation for just about everything dog. When I am asked to speak at schools / civic groups/ or meetings I always start with a script. I try to have a beginning – middle- and an end that covers 'sit down stay and come'.

When training my dogs I don't just go into the back yard and start 'willy-nelly'. I normally have a game plan. I have a spiral note book that I use . Before I go out to the backyard I write down what I want to accomplish at the bottom of the page . Then I list the steps that I believe will achieve this task. Now Sometimes my ideas are 'bunk'. And I have to change the game plan while in the backyard but when I come into the house I write down the changes I had to make.

Puppies must have a foundation; you must be consistent and fair with them. With a good foundation of 'sit down stay and come' Most other training will be easy .Having to teach a dog a good start line stay after you have been competing in agility is not a good reflection of your foundations. I know my Lucille is notorious for breaking her start line stay or at least doing the border collie creepy crawl toward the first jump. Some dogs learn to be 'ring wise' (dogs know you ain't going to correct them in the ring, that's why we have fun matches)

So another word that came to mind while I was rolling the hose up was 'speed' As long as I took my time the hose would roll onto the reel correctly but if I rolled it fast again it would be a mess before I got all the hose on the reel. Take your time in the foundation training don't rush, this is the most important part of the training of your dog. Be sure you got the simple and very important foundation of dog training down with your pup before you go on with your training . Proof it Proof it Proof it !!!!

Do I need to say that again?

Now that you have gotten this far in the article you now are thinking what is going on in this ole man head; Sometimes I surprise my self with information that I have in side this bald head. Be Fair; I have heard that phrase for years Until I got Maggie I did not completely understand the term 'Fair'. Maggie has some hip and back problems has had since she was a pup. When I was training her I knew that she could not do the jumps for agility at full height so I had to be fair to her and allow her to jump at a much lower height. As out training started in sheep herding I found I could allow her to run more on flat ground with out her hurting the next day. So to be 'fair' to her..Maggie and I worked harder at the herding than the agility stuff. I was 'fair' to her because of her health problems. Being 'fair' means knowing the dogs limits, your limits, and when to not push passed the limits.

I train my dogs almost every day. The days that I have a tough day at work I love to work the dogs as it relieves the daily stress and for a short time , I can forget about the real world stuff. My dogs give me 100% and I try to return that positive energy.

Building a solid foundation will get you far in your type of dog training. Just remember to be fair, consistent, positive, and have a plan. Doing this you can reach your goal of getting a full 'reel' of fun

bill mcfarlin


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Positively Expert: Bill McFarlin

Bill and his dog Star are the National Spokesman for the American Brittany Rescue, and were contestants on the CBS reality show "Greatest American Dog." Bill has been training dogs for over 20 years, and enjoys teaching his dogs sports like agility, herding, and frisbee. He and his wife are active volunteers in the dog rescue community.


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