There is something incredibly satisfying about doing 1-on-1 training with someone. Whether it is dog training, going to school, being in a relationship, heck - driving your car, nothing beats the connection two "things" can share.
Until very recently, I've always been on the other side of the 1-on-1 equation (the "asking for help!" side, that is). A short while ago, I was contacted by a woman looking for help with her adolescent labrador. She wanted to get into one of the training classes I teach, however the class schedule conflicted with a prior commitment on hers. Having heard the sincere desire through her words as we emailed back and forth a few times, I knew this is a woman who wanted dearly to help her young dog and was getting advice from some other trainers that she was not comfortable with. I could just feel it in her typing that she needed help and knew that there just had to be a better way than what was being told to her (jerking of a head collar and shaking the dog by the scruff!).
Very kindly I apologized that our class schedule did not work for her and I did something that I just knew was right; I offered to help her through private training. There wasn't an ounce of hesitation in my mind, body or soul to open my services to someone who was suffering from behaviors that have struck very close to home with me.
Reactivity, impulse control, lack of focus, loss of or failure of connection are rapidly becoming modules of dog behavior that I live and breathe by. There is no greater joy than seeing someone have that "Ah-ha!" moment when you are working with them. When they realize that they made something happen and they are in control. Sure, these moments happen in group classes, but the 1-on-1 sessions allow for a much more focused relationship and that is what leaves me beaming this afternoon. The ultimate gratitude this new client of mine has had in just 2 short sessions is amazing. She is seeing the potential in her dog...in their relationship...and I am honored that the perfect sequence of events happened that allowed me to help guide her along her journey.
It seems silly and often times redundant to keep reflecting on how much Oscar has changed my life, but I can't ignore how much he has allowed me to learn. So, a special shout out to Oscar ("Thank you, Buddy!")