I enrolled Avila in a training class. Little did I know that her training focused on changing me. After three weeks of dog training class, the way I look at the world changed. I have a role to play in helping people on their journey to success.
As I embraced my “retired” life, I decided to find something for Avila and me to do while Nancy worked.
A few weeks ago, we started a beginner’s dog training school.
To be clear, Avila is a very smart dog. She had some training in the past. Avila was housebroken when she arrived just about a year ago.
In a matter of days, she learned that Rayann’s room was “off-limits.” If Rayann leaves her door open, Avila will lay in the hallway looking into the room, never crossing the threshold.
Avila understands she is not allowed on any furniture except her chair. As the family gathers for an evening in the living room, she quickly jumps into her spot.
She is an intelligent dog. So I thought it might be fun if she learned a few more things.
Our first-class was mostly about correcting my perception. Avila’s success or failure had more to do with me and less with her.For Avila to learn and perform the requested behaviors, I needed to change what I was doing.
For example, when I wanted Avila to sit, I would say, “Sit down.” It made sense to me. The trainer was quick to point out I was giving her two commands simultaneously, sit and lay down. Rather than helping her succeed, my words were confusing.
I was also told that I tended to reward Avila at inappropriate times. She needs to receive a reward right after performing the requested behavior. My timing was off. My mistake made it hard for Avila to learn what I asked of her.
Working together the past few weeks has revealed that I can be impatient. I want to master one piece of the training to move on to the next step. Slowing down allows Avila a chance to learn what is being asked of her. There is no rush to do everything today. There is joy in learning together.
The Secret to Success
Driving to and from class, I have thought about how Avila’s success depends on what I was learning. The better I understand the lessons, the easier it will be for her to succeed.
The longer I thought about it, the more I saw it to be true. Avila cannot practice any lessons on her own. She depends on me to take the time and review what was taught in class.
My mind drifted from Avila to other situations within our world.
How many people depend on me (or you) to help them succeed? They are intelligent, gifted people, filled with ability who need someone to come alongside them and help launch their journey to success.
Reflecting on my life, I was a lot like Avila. There was some raw skill and potential within my being. I needed people to come alongside and help me discover how best to unleash what was dormant inside me. I needed a chance to practice what I knew. Wise feedback showed me what worked and where I needed to work a little harder.
I imagine you can point to a few people who played similar roles in your life. Parents, Grandparents, teachers, employers, managers, friends, sponsors, people who shared wisdom with you so you could grow into your best you.
Finding Ways to Help Each Other GrowDog training school has made me a better companion for Avila.
I have changed the way I approach our weekly classes. Rather than see what Avila will learn, I go to class to learn something new to help Avila be her best.
It has changed how I listen to the instructor, the way I engage in the class.
What if we all began to move through our days looking to find ways to help each other be our best?
My sense is that the way we see the world might change if we were consistently looking for ways to bring out the best in each other.
Avila quietly naps behind my desk as I finish this post, probably dreaming about our next walk along the trout stream.
A big shout out to Susan and the team at Greenwood Dog Training School.