Recently, Arnie Erwin asked me to write an article about using modern technology to be a better dog trainer for a book he is working on. I would like to share with you some excerpts from that article.
I started training retrievers for field trials a little over 38 years ago. The first thing that was impressed upon me was the importance of putting yourself in your dog’s shoes. Reading your dog’s behavior in the field requires a clear understanding on what they are seeing at that very moment.
I have found that using today’s technology gives me the clearest perspective of my dog’s intended path. That perspective guides me in my effort to communicate and intervene at just the right time.
I use video from both a drone and a handheld device to preview and review my training sessions. Aerial video provides the trainer and handler the chance to see what the dog’s reaction is to what they encounter in route to their destination. Evaluating that reaction gives us a unique perspective on what and more importantly, why a dog made a certain decision.
Honing your interpretive skills is the key to achieving the desired results. Modern technology allows me to accomplish this more effectively.
Over the course of my career, I have witnessed a dramatic evolution in dog training. We as trainers have learned to better appreciate what our dogs are thinking. We have made adjustments on how to train more sensitive, thoughtful canines. Therefore, we have more sensitive and thoughtful dogs today. They are easier and more user friendly for the vast majority. And that’s a good thing. This is just scratching the surface of what is possible with the use of modern technology. These tools have helped me be a better listener and therefore a better teacher.