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LESSONS FROM SADIE: I Needed a Coach

Just a year ago, I picked up the newest member of my family: Sadie. This rescue dog and I have become fast friends. But more – having a young learner around has made me reflect on the learning (on both ends of the leash) that goes on as she adjusts to the culture of our home.

Sadie has had to figure out language, expectations, routines, and limits. As leader and interpreter of the world to this little one, I have been in a position much like a parent. It is within our relationship that the real learning happens.

I read the books, bought the equipment and toys, prepared the house, even went to puppy kindergarten. Sadie and I were doing ok. She was so much fun and learning basic commands, but there were unexpected behaviors and the beginnings of bad habits. I wanted more and Sadie needed more.

Enter Brigitte (foxhillk9.com). Not only is Brigitte an excellent dog trainer with skills, knowledge and experience, but maybe her most important contribution has been to coach me in the training of Sadie. It has been invaluable to work on my goals for Sadie, to be closely observed, to practice more effective strategies, to be encouraged, to ask questions specific to my circumstances, and to develop a trusted relationship wherein MY learning can be effective.

It turns out that reaching out for expert help for Sadie meant I needed a coach for me as much as a trainer for her. This is the sort of impactful collaboration that parent coaching can provide.

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