I once took a music lesson from cello legend Pablo Casals. I asked when he evolved from “student” to “teacher.” He spoke slowly and deliberately in his heavily accented English: “I’ve never stopped being a student of the cello.”
And we shouldn’t either.
One of the best reasons to attend events like Pheasant Fest is the seminars. Watching experts, absorbing their expertise, finally “getting it” is worth the price of admission. And that’s before the exhibits, friends new and old, and generally positive vibe you get hanging out in a room with 22,000 people who love what you love.
Long ago I decided that even one nugget, a scintilla of useful information made sitting for an hour worthwhile. But Ronnie Smith’s overview of dog training and behavior was a headful of invaluable insights. I vow to use his techniques and tools this spring and summer to prepare Manny for a Utility Test.
Sometimes, it’s brand-new information that re-sets your preconceived notions. Other times, it is as simple as a crystal-clear interpretation of a muddy word that unlocks a cascade of training revelations.
In Ronnie’s case, it was using the half-hitch on a dog’s flank to reinforce “whoa.” His rationale (and method) for stopping dogs via flank-based commands resonated in the room of avid dog owners and hunters, many vexed by the lack of success with collar-based direction-correction (including me).
I’ve already ordered the DVD. As we take our baby steps down the path toward Utility Test, I’ll keep you posted.