Flexibility is one of the most essential ingredients when working with dogs. No two dogs are alike; and although you may see a common response to behavior work there are always subtle differences and occasionally a huge difference in reaction. I remember when I took Tilley for her CGC like 10 years ago; it was with one of the areas biggest trainers. She passed everything with flying colors of course; until we got to the: Accepting a friendly stranger. Having done alot of tests the very large guy was sitting on a chair and wanted the dogs brought to him; not good already. She didn't want to go see this guy sitting on a chair; he definitely didn't give off a friendly aura. Okay this guy is suppose to be a longtime trainer; and he's says to me "what's wrong with your dog?" Anyone who is suppose to be experienced with dogs; supposed to be up on canine behavior and then asks the owner this stupid question? Time to hang up the leash dude.
So; not all dogs react the sameway. I've been given some reactions over the years that really threw me. I then sit back and think; this is the big difference between conventional training and positive training. Okay so the dog has offered a strange new behavior to whatever we are doing; I consider the response, and try something new. There is a reason for everything; and if you only have one way of working with dogs; with no wiggle room then you are going to become frustrated along with the dogs you are working with very quickly.
Often with a little experimentation; trying different way of delivery you will given a little more insight into a response. Many times I have an; as Oprah would say "ah ha moment." The dog finally gets the message across to me clearly and it can be something very strange like the way I am moving my arm; the fact that we are standing near a food dish or there is a distracting toy in the room. I love these moments.
And being flexible means exactly that; you cannot get caught up in "this always works." Well I can guarantee that it's not always going to work; it can't. To start with; like I said dogs are all different. Then you have the life background; their reactions and their owners reaction which inturn makes the dogs that we are currently working with at any one time. I've had to do some many switch up things in my training years; from a simple change of leash, removal of certain collar, be as calm as a cucumber (a dead cucumber), be a social butterfly with a high pitch voice, lay on the floor or never look at a dog while speaking to them. It just goes with the territory; switching it up becomes a way of life. And many times a good safety measure.