What is Canine Coaching and why do we do it?
There’s an idea that training our dogs is only for the professionals, or that unless dogs are “misbehaving” they don’t need training. This isn’t so. We can only just about provide life enrichment and enhance our dogs lives without giving them the chance to learn. In fact, just like you are learning by reading this.
Dogs live in a human dominated world. They often have to guess our expectations of them, they have emotions, worries and confusion when living with us. We have expectations of what we want from our dogs but we often don’t correctly explain what those expectations are – which is where coaching comes in.
Dogs also like to try new things, succeed, learn and become skilled at something new. In addition they like reward, celebration and interaction with us. Dogs generally like coaching. They can also learn important lessons through the game. Lessons such as an expectation of success, self-confidence, calmness, husbandry, general care and even calm veterinary visits; they can all be achieved by Canine Coaching.
So it’s not just heelwork and hurdles, although most dogs love that too; it’s husbandry and happiness. Practice will grow your coaching skillset with success – along with your confidence and the confidence of the dogs you work with too.
It can be easy to fall into the thinking pattern that we live alongside dogs and should let them be themselves without lots of training and rules. That thinking can even feel like empathy and fairness towards our dogs. Yes regardless of our ethical stance, canine coaching is necessary. For what about when the dog goes to the vet? Wont they be happier if they have practiced being handled all over for a reward and are comfortable with it? What about when they need to wear a muzzle? Wont it be easier in an emergency if they have learned that muzzle wearing is fun and nothing to worry about? Or what about the reactive dog who has love confidence, won’t he benefit greatly with confidence boosts through learning new things regularly?
This is why we use canine coaching. It builds the bond, cares for the dog’s welfare and enriches their life through positive and kind teaching. Plus, the better we are at it, the more our dogs benefit, why wouldn’t we want that?
Coaching is designed to bring out the inner strength of the student. When we coach, we use scientific learning theory and skills surrounding it to show, shape and help our dogs understand. We also use the method to build their confidence on the inside, to help them be the best they can possibly be, and to tap into their reserves of self-belief; even if they are well hidden, building their self-esteem along the way.