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Setting Goals for Retriever Trainers

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Setting Goals for Retriever Trainers

Before we get started, give some thought to what your goals are for you and your dog. Do you want to finish a trial, complete a title, attain a higher success rate on water marking tests or blinds? Although goals can be vague on details, I think it's important to know where you're trying to get to.

Next I want you to set an objective. Keep it simple. Think about one thing, one element of retriever work where you see a weakness that's preventing you from achieving your goal. It could be in either you, your dog or both. Got it? Great!

Now it's time to come up with a plan. In general terms, decide what skills you need to work on and how you'll go about working on them in order to reach your objective. Once you've done that, provide specifics. List the tasks you'll need to do in order to execute the plan.

Finally, set up a schedule you can follow so that you ensure you complete your tasks.

Here is an example of what the process might look like:

Goal: Higher success rate on blinds.

Objective(s): Improve my timing when I handle my dog

Plan: Drills and blinds which allow me to practice identifying danger zones, plan my attack and negotiate them appropriately. Coaching from a qualified individual who can help me understand the mechanics and develop a better plan of attack for tricky blinds.

Tasks: Keyhole-Hazard Drill, 3-Peats and multiple blinds scenarios with tight parameters, hazards and tricky finishes. Arrange for coaching/mentoring.

Schedule: Twice weekly Keyhole-Hazard drill. Twice weekly 3-peat with slots, keyholes, tight diversions, hazards and tricky finishes. Twice weekly double blind scenarios incorporating same. Monday - contact coach/mentor to set up coaching plan. End of week 3 - reevaluate skill level and make adjustments to the plan if necessary.

So there you have it. Give it some thought and use this tool to help provide direction and motivation for your training program. If you'd like to talk about your coaching needs, call me (229) 977-4770 I'd love to chat.