The other day I was looking up how to cook a dish I had never cooked before but had eaten a few times. I was surprised at how many different ways there were to cook the dish.
Different ingredients you could substitute, if you don’t have potato, use sweet potato or pumpkin. No lamb?, use beef. When it came to cooking it, the techniques could be swapped a little too. Use a little bit of steaming or poaching, followed by grilling, pan frying or roasting.
There are so many different ways to make the same dish. Having been a chef for a few years and having a good understanding of how these techniques all worked, I wasn’t hindered in cooking this dish when I didn’t have access to ingredients listed, or tools and cooking methods that were listed. No pot large enough, cool, make a smaller batch. No oven? No problem. Change it slightly and finish it by pan frying it.
There are many ways to cook something, just as there are many ways to train dogs. One technique works for some, others won’t work or, don’t work as well producing poor results.
If you don’t have access to certain tools, get better at all the ones at your disposal. Be the best at what you are doing, the techniques you can use. Keep learning how to be better. Learn from those who are good at what they do. Be kind and ask them for help. There are so many great trainers that will help you out if you are nice. Don’t be a dick!
If you are training any dog, study the best at what they do and then go out, put hours into yourself and train. Video yourself and then watch and learn. Be your harshest critic, but also be kind to yourself.
Be patient. Learn how to do that from our dogs. Their patience is often far greater than ours. If it takes 5 minutes, that’s fine. If it is 5 minutes for us, that’s like, half an hour in dog time!!
Experiment a little. Try different things and see what works for your dog. You haven’t tried a clicker? Go for it. Test it out for a month. Never had a flexi lead? Where can it be useful in your training? Long lines? Don’t know how to use one? Practice with it. Figure out how to let it slide through your hands, or how to rapidly pull it towards you as your dog recalls. Never done free shaping? There is a lesson in patience, criteria and timing right there!
Practice what you do and then get better at it. You will have ups and downs, successes and failures. Good, learn from them all.
Sometimes when life gives you limes, there are a thousand things you can do with it… How about making a margarita or cracking a Corona and playing around with what you do have.
Enjoy your training.