Spaniel Journal Home Page

Your eyes begin to pick up the small stuff and recognize the growth in both people and in their dogs. The journey that a handler and dog takes, say over a ten-week period of time, to become a working team is a real pleasure to witness. It's remarkable to see the confidence and skill level increasing with each passing week.

"Picking up one little idea can make all the difference in the world."

Folks from all walks of life with all breeds of dogs have entered my back yard on a weekly basis during the summer months. It's not uncommon to see a fully trained large Munsterlander, German shorthair pointer, Labrador, or a field-bred spaniel having a great training work out in any one evening. And it is no surprise that cardiac surgeons, racecar drivers, pilots, tree trimmers, computer geeks, stay-at-home moms, veterinarians, real estate sales reps, dog groomers, and many retired folks attend classes on a weekly basis. A high percentage of these folks figure out rather quickly that their little dog can do his job - and they want him or her to do it even better. Many have become active field trailers and hunt testers in their own breeds. It's a great opportunity for the new person to learn.

The learning process becomes highly advanced in group training sessions. We humans have a need to sink or swim in social settings - so falling behind is not an option. Picking up one little idea can make all the difference in the world. "Learning how to learn" is a key phrase that we use around here quite often. And what to learn is very beneficial. Each chance to walk behind another handler and dog will add insight into our own understanding and accomplishments.

I have one 66-year old woman learning to handle for the first time, and she is doing an excellent job teaching her spaniel. I also have a 77-year old man who's had pointers for years, but he comes to learn how to compete with his young pointer. All ages - all breeds - all learning curves.

Some things that us spaniel folks take for granted, can be real learning tasks for others. Take, for instance, the new person coming to the line and trying to set his dog for the cast off. After a few attempts to cast his dog with his dog's back to him, he realizes that he should face his dog so the dog can see him. The handler compensated by changing his own position, facing his dog, but now the handler's back is to the field. Eventually, we got the handler and dog turned around. Others watching could see the error and learned from his mistake.

In yet another case, a young golden retriever thought it could swim - the handler had no clue. I found myself wading into my pond with full gear, boots, vest, etc... to haul him out before he went under for the third time. But, today, that golden makes awesome retrieves. What a pleasure to watch the growth of that dog and his handler!

Handlers come to class with many expectations: their dog can swim, their dog can retrieve, their dog hunts. They soon discover that more skills than just walking behind a dog are needed. Can you stop that dog? Can your turn that

Page 2

| Spaniel Journal | Previous Page | Next Page |

| Bookstore | The Bookshelf | Our Sponsors | Spaniel Resources | Letters | Archives | Spaniel Journal |
| Victor McDevitt | Rachel Greaves | Martin Deeley | Pamela O. Kadlec | Hal Standish | Clark Reid | Loretta Baughan |

Copyright © Spaniel Journal & L Baughan Webdesign, 2002, 2003 all rights reserved worldwide