Is it okay to change your mind?

For the past few days I have been starting Nargles on her weave poles,  i had trained Try using sets of four poles with wires on them, so that is how i started with Nargles.  As i was watching my video clips of her weaving i wasn’t liking the way she kept following the panels instead of focusing on the poles, as i started to move the wires away i found she was getting frustrated and confused because she was more focused on the wires then the poles themselves.

So i spent the day staring at my set of weave poles,  willing them to tell me what i should be doing with them.  I love clicker work and love watching the dogs learn so i decided i want to free shape Nargles through the poles.  I started her with just two poles and at this stage she is just running through two poles. As i progress i will bring in another two poles, what i am planning on doing will be a variation of Susan Garrett’s 2×2 method with my own spin that will work for my dogs.

I think i will also run Try through the steps with Nargles as well,  she already has pretty decent poles but it never hurts for an older dog to run through the basics and have some fun. (and lots of treats!)

So after i finally made up my mind (which can be quite an event…)  i thought to myself  “is it okay to change your mind?”   It seemed really hard for me to change mid stream so to speak, like it was against some unspoken rule.  But i knew deep down that using the wires with Nargles was not going to work like i wanted it to, that doesn’t make the wires a bad training tool, just not the right one for her.

So even though i changed pretty early for her, she had only done the weave poles with the wires perhaps 3 times, what if it had been more? What if i had done it for months? Would it still be okay to change?  Yes. absolutely, whole heartedly, beyond a shadow of a doubt. YES.

I see many dogs who struggle with a training method or a certain performance on equipment (like contacts)  that would love to have their owners change mid stream. Not all training methods work for all dogs, and not the exact steps to a training method works for every dog.  modify it, change it and make it yours, make it work for you and your dog as a team.

So i am off to do some more free shaping with Nargles and my mind now knows after many hours of talking to itself, it really is okay to change.


Published by Amanda Nelson

Amanda Nelson is well known for her distance handling skills, and she has been traveling the country and teaching seminars for 20+ years. She has traveled around the world to Australia, Japan, Netherlands, England, Switzerland and the Philippines teaching all levels of agility, with nearly all dog breeds. Amanda focuses on teaching teamwork as well as how to create a strong connection between dog and handler. She works with all styles of handling, from running with your dog to distance handling. Amanda tailors each training session, large or small, to the dog and handler to help bring out the best in the team. Her training techniques consist of a large amounts of targeting, food rewards, and toy rewards. Creating a fun learning environment for the dog encourages a fast, fun, and motivated dog in the agility ring. Amanda uses a combination of Upper Body Cues, Lower Body Cues, and Verbal Cues. This system was derived from the natural cues that most dogs read and pick up quickly. Handlers are taught how to use all of these cues, together, to create a customized handling system that can be tailored to their unique dog. All of these techniques have resulted in Amanda earning numerous titles with her dogs including the MOD SQUAD award, Purple Achievement Cup, and over 40 NADAC Championship titles. She has won the NADAC Championships multiple times, including winning the Super Stakes and Starter Stakes division. She has also been Top Bonus Dog, Top Purple Dog, and Top Dog of the Year several times in NADAC.

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