This blog is going to be the outline for the Observation chapter in my upcoming book Marsha Houston’s 2-Minute Dog Trainer. This book will expand on my brochures and handouts.
Observation – being Observant – conditioning Observation
First, a definition: “Observation is the action of observing, or watching, and recording or noting information from what has been observed. It is also a judgment made from watching.”
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the idea that some people are more or less observant. Pop culture celebrates the concept of observation as a specific skill for The Mentalist, Long Island Medium, or Psych. Many people believe that psychics are skilled at observation.
Whether my dog and I are training or performing, observation is key. In preparation I must condition myself to provide consistent cues, observe my dog’s response, and provide the correct feedback.
But being observant is only half of the equation. Reacting correctly to what I observe is the other half of the equation.
Then I must consider my dog’s powers of observation — often referred to as attentiveness. And her ability to react correctly to what she observes — conditioned responses.
Bottom line — my daily training, which takes place in intense bursts of activity, most closely replicates a performance environment.
Brief daily training sessions allow me to practice consistent cues, observation, reaction, and allows my dog to become attentive to my cues and develop consistent responses.