The crowd was revved up and having a great time and the dogs seemed to feel the same way.
Watch this video of an 11 year old doing an amazing jump – quite similar to the signature jump from the hit movie “A Dog’s Purpose:
This is what I call “the gas” of dog training. This is all about “go! go! go!” And for the most part this is the fun part of dog training everyone wants to do. It’s fun for the dog, fun for the handler, and fun for the spectators. When you are shopping for dog trainers, this is what “all-positive” dog trainers will use to sell you training packages – proof that positive dog training can give you awesome results.
And it’s true. If you were trying to train this with corrections or anything aversive, it would be less efficient and the performance would have way less heart and soul.
But now I want you to watch the video again, through a slightly different lens.
This is what you get when a dog is trained with all “go!” and no… well, “no.”
Good training should give you the performance you want, when you want it. If your training is all “gas,” then imagine what this dog, in this mind state, would look like in your home. It would be jumping over your toddlers en route to knocking over your bookshelf and carrying your books around the house triumphantly.
That’s not to say these dogs are like that at home. Skilled performance trainers can “toggle” their dogs back and forth between excited and calm – an entire art in and of itself.
Training a house dog successfully is very difficult without the other side of training: the brake. This can be anything from appropriate corrections, duration work designed to make your dog calm throughout the day, clear and explicit rules, boundaries, and limitations, and so on.
Unless you are working with an incredibly easy dog, training a dog with only the gas or only the brake will be a nearly impossible endeavor. It’s when you combine the two that you really start driving smoothly.