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  • Pat

Dealing with setbacks

Updated: May 3, 2023



I want to share with you a very important concept that I believe is an essential part of your dog’s early development. When you are in the midst of your dog’s Basics retriever training program, you will be tracking your progress in reference to the basics flowchart. More than likely, you will be checking off the steps as you go. Your progression achieving the necessary skill sets will be obvious. What won’t be so obvious is the psychological development of your dog. This development can best be described using the definition of Bombproof.


Bombproof: Marked by the ability to withstand stress without structural damage or distortion. Syn: Firm, Sound, Strong, Sturdy, Dependable, Durable, Reliable, Unbreakable and Cohesive.


I can’t think of traits more valuable to instill in your young prospect than these. For sake of comparison, here is a list of the antonyms for Bombproof: Insecure, Weak, Shaky, Unbalanced and Unsubstantial.


It’s these psychological skill sets that will prove to be the most valuable asset in the long run. The gift of resilience and mental toughness along with a clear understanding of how to respond to future challenges will be one that will last throughout your dog’s career.





I have included a short video showing the progress that both Kim and her dog Kid made in a few weeks. This video shows Kid struggling at first with the early stages of Force Fetch. As the standards became clear to both handler and student, the growth was profound. It didn’t happen without challenges and setbacks. It’s those challenges and setbacks that I chose to bring to your attention. Dealing with adversity will be a part of Kid's development. Putting in place the necessary tools to navigate future challenges is arguably the greatest benefit of a thorough basics program. You will see how Kid matured in a very short time. He went from an unfocused adolescent to a confident youngster in little over a month. It’s this strong foundation that will be the building blocks for a successful career.


I know that everyone hopes that basic training is a breeze. A vision of “Smooth Sailing” is what you are dreaming of, but Smooth sailing is not realistic for an entire career. The sooner you prepare your dog to bounce back from a setback the better his development will be. I am not advocating multiple days of trying sessions. However, I do believe in embracing the opportunities to strengthen your dog’s resolve when they encounter setbacks.


In my new course Bombproof Basics, I walk you through 3 dogs’ journey, the ups and the downs, the successes and the mishaps. The transformation of both trainer and dog will be obvious. The leadership qualities that the trainer will display are profound. They went from awkward trainers to confident leaders during this journey. At first glance, you will think that Basics are all about the dog. You will see this very differently after completing this class. The maturation that happens in these 6 months are game changers for everyone involved.


There aren’t many stages in your training relationship that will be more significant than your time spent during Basics. At no other time will you witness as dramatic of change than during these early stages. This is where you both will develop and instill trust and mutual respect. You will become your dog’s leader and confidant. You both will be emboldened to deal with the challenges that lie ahead. I’m here to guide you through that process and help you get it right from the start.









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