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  • Writer's pictureRobin Greubel

If you are not in the arena...

A lot of dog training is mental work. You think about what you need, design what you are going to do, troubleshoot it because the dog is going to do something you didn't think of, then you train it, then you think about what you did wrong or you did right.

Dog training is hard work. It's mentally difficult and depending on the size and reinforcement system of your dog, it can also be very physical work. Our first tendency as human beings is to ALWAYS point out the negative.

There's nothing like posting a video of your training that was ground breaking for this dog, for you as a handler or just down right cute and someone comes off the top rope and pile drives you into the mat because.....

You pointed once out of four trials with a puppy who doesn't know how to search cars yet.


You are working a dog on a Flexi lead because one of the aspects your training is that the dog knows how to search through constant pressure on their collar and are told you need slapped up side the head because your leash skills suck.


You pulled your dog off of odor/scent (purposefully) in a training to teach resiliency and recovery and are told you need slapped because you pulled a dog off odor.


Your dog comes running too you dragging a long line past toys, treats and a rabbit and you are told it's dangerous for the dog to be running while dragging long line.

Being in the arena getting your ass kicked is hard.

Comments on something you are doing (even when done in person) can be disheartening and demotivating. Until they are in the arena with you, training the dog in front of you, the unproductive comments need to go away.

I put myself 'out there' a lot. I get lots of unproductive comments about what is going on in the video or the picture. This had led to a lot of practice on 'letting it go'. That is also mentally difficult and exhausting.

I have stopped calling comments 'constructive criticism'. Either they are productive or unproductive. If you want to provide me with productive feedback, awesome, bring it on. Otherwise, it is not worth my time dwelling on.

I will tell you what, I LOVE the K9Sensus Trainers group on Facebook. All of the comments above have NOT happened in this group.

Your challenge this week, if you see a video of someone dog training online, only point out one positive thing on that video or don't comment. I also want you to watch your own stuff and write down at least three positive things and only one negative thing.


Robin Greubel MBA, ICF-ACC

Robin has been training working dogs since 2001 and educating working dog handlers and trainers all over the nation since 2008. While working in corporate America, she managed relationships and people using the same behavior principles she honed training dogs. Not only can these principles transform your ability to work at an elite level with your dog, but apply to every animal (humans too!) you work with. She is the CEO of the K9Sensus Foundation, a foundation that focuses on coaching the human end of the leash.

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