Insight Gained from being a helper
To those of you on this board that are both helpers and handlers,
What, if any, inisghts have you gained from being a helper (for other dogs) that has increased your ability as a handler with your own dog?
I'm new to the sport, I've been at my club as an active member for about three months now. My guy turns 7 months old in just over a week. The TD is great so are the helpers, But I wanted some outside prospective from what you've learned as helper and how its impacted you as a handler.
Follow up question is,
When did you decide to become a helper?
I was thinking about checking out a seminar in the near future.
When did i want to? I guess immediately, but i was intimidated because i didnt know **** :) . I started not long after though maybe a few months. I was lucky we had two very seasoned helpers and for a few months all we did was work trained dogs. It was like football practice running drills.
Working on presentation, the speed of it , position etc. Escape bites over and over, drives, bite drive out, bite, drive, out over and over. Long bites again and again. They'd make us run across the field and yell for us to turn around, theyd sent the dog already :) so it was turn and react.
When the mechanics were great amd safety in all situations was there, then they started teaching the actual ttaining stuff. Mechanics were easy, catching dogs is fun. The faster the better.
But the training takes a long time and the learning doesn't really ever end.
What did i gain? Well at first i was watching my dog do stuff and they always got them to do what they wanted. Then i tried and dogs didnt respond to me like they did for them. So then i stopped staring at my dog so much and watched them and how the dog responded.
Learning why, and how different dogs responded to different things taught me relatively early on to reaaly read my dogs and it helped in all facets, ob protection tracking, and just hanging out at home. Seeing the dog both sides of the leash has been invaluable. Maybe its just experience and time in general, but learning to be a helper i think really forced me, and gave me the opportunity to really get much deeper into dog training than just do this because it works type stuff. I always want to know "why"
Pretty much this. You begin to read dogs so much better than the average bear. You see things like an eyebrow twitch a nose wrinkle, just the smallest of changes and can react to them. This helps with your own timing when handling your dog. Also you get to be on the field listening to tips from other handlers and your TD dealing with another handler and dog. So if your dog begins to do something you know how to fix it before it becomes a problem. It's kinda like being a spy hahaha.
Thank you both for responses and feedback its def interesting to hear.
I think I'm in a good spot with 3 helpers plus the TD where I can learn a lot. I'll have to check out seminar in the near future and start getting my feet wet..
If theres anyone else please share in detail too
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