The NBA season is in full swing, and one team is still undefeated (19-0). The Golden State Warriors are not my team, but you have to be impressed with how they play! And I am interested in how teams become successful, because when I am training a dog, I am part of a team.
The core values of the Golden State Warriors are:
You might think Competition is the most important value, but the coach said “the first one, and the most important one, is Joy”.
Yes, it is. In order to do something really well, to perform at the highest level, you have to love what you are doing, you have to REALLY enjoy it. And even if you aren’t looking to perform at the highest level in competition with your dog, even if you are “just” training basic foundation skills that make life with a dog possible, Joy is essential.
IF YOU AND YOUR DOG
– YOU WILL TRAIN MORE OFTEN AND BETTER
That look – of joyous expectation – is what I want to see in my dog’s eyes during training sessions. I know that he is having a good time, and I find that enthusiasm very reinforcing – it makes me want to train more often. Joy is really why positive reinforcement works – the dog performs the behavior that you want because he gets something he wants out of it – joy on both ends of the leash.
Compassion is all about keeping my dog’s safety and health (mental and physical) as a top priority. My dog’s welfare is my responsibility.
Mindfulness is being aware of and engaged in the process of training – having long and short term goals, and a plan for how achieve my goals using positive reinforcement – and carefully observing my dog during the training process. Mindfulness is also about analyzing the results of training and revising goals and plans where needed.
Competition comes into play if you are engaged in dog sports. Through competing successfully in dog agility with two of my dogs, I learned that the most important part of my job was to make agility something my dogs loved to do – Joy, again.