I’m going to say something that most handlers don’t tell new people. You will most likely wreck your first dog. There are exceptions to the rule for sure but most people mess up their first dog. Never fear however, it’s not your fault. Just as you typically don’t marry the first person you date, you typically fail your first dog. There are several reasons for this as far as I can tell. For starters, you don’t know what you don’t know. I mean there are a million nuances to training a stock dog. It’s the reason why people get so hooked to it. You are always learning. At the beginning, you know less then nothing. You have zero knowledge and bad habits. One of the worst habits people have at the beginning is a desire to be perfect on day one. They want their dog to look like the one they saw on tv right away. Typically they handle their dog so tight that the dog never makes a mistake but also never learns. What newbies don’t realize is it takes some dogs years to be good at all. And those are the talented ones. That’s why it’s so important for people to at least try two dogs in the sport before they write it off completely. That’s what I did. I tried when I was a kid and saying I had no talent would be an understatement. Your second dog will tell you if you are cut out to be a handler. Now there are exceptions to the rule as I said. Chiefly, there are two main exceptions. One; people who have incredible natural ability find success with their first dog. These people typically don’t get bogged down with over intellectualizing training and instead rely on there own God given intuition. Which is perfect considering that’s exactly what the dog is doing. Two; the person has a totally incredible dog. There are dogs that have existed that have almost trained themselves. They are both precious and rare. So if I can leave with one piece of advice, don’t give up. Your first dog will challenge you and make you feel like you aren’t cut out for this. Stay with it anyways. This sport will teach you lessons far deeper and more profound than I can even describe. Your first dog may feel like a failure but it can also be the first step to something truly special.
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