Shepherd's Way

Training Philosophy

EmmalyThe following is paraphrased from advice by Ray Hunt. Although Ray's original comments were in reference to to horses, I feel his thoughts apply to working with dogs as well:

'Working with the dog is a way of life for me. He's my livelihood, my hobby, my passion. If given a little thought, a little understanding, and a little common sense, the dog gives back in full measure. If the human can give 5%, the dog will come from the other side with 95%. The dog never ceases to amaze me with what he can get done with very little help from the human.

When the dog is in trouble and the human doesn't know how to help him, the human lets his pride get in the way and the first thing you know - it's a contest. The human makes it a win or lose situation, and if you're not real careful, the dog comes out the winner. The dog doesn't know what win or lose is, or what a contest is, until the human shows it to him.

I'd like to help the human understand how much less he can use and how much more he can get done. The human is so busy working on the dog, that he doesn't allow the dog to learn. They need to quit working on the dog and start working on themselves. They might get it done, but they don't get it done with the dog in the right frame of mind. The dog usually gets the job done in spite of us, not because of us.

You need to notice the dog making changes for the better. Expression is extremely important. The dog has body expression and mental expression. You must learn to read the dog's expression. The dog has multitudes of actions and reactions. They are all separate, yet inseparable. The dog will always tell you the facts. The dog is very honest. We can teach him to cheat by not filling in the blank spaces for him, but that comes from the human, not the dog.'

Photo: Mr. Fulkerson and Emmaly