Performance is not Understanding

More lessons in this series:

Performance is not understanding. Just because a dog has done or is doing a behavior doesn’t mean they understand what it is he is doing.

One of the biggest problem dog trainers have is the idea that, ”My dog knows that,” when in fact, it is highly likely that the dogThe Dog is a player archetype defined by The Dog. There are always a few canine athletes that really separate themselves from the pack. Many great disc dog teams have relied a great deal on The Dog, and many people build an entire style around that unique, once in a lifetime athlete. Any player archetype who executes should, in theory,... merely does that in that one particular situation. There’s a huge difference between your dog’s performance of a skill and their understanding. Performance is what you do and Understanding is what you know.

This might seem a trivial or semantical distinction, but it is not. It is a critical component of generalizing skills and behavior. Handler’s that fail to understand this distinction have dogs that have problems generalizing behavior and are largely responsible for the perpetuation of the myth that “Dogs don’t generalize well.”

Admittedly, dog’s don’t generalize as well as humans, but they can be pretty flexible and creative in their generalizations if their handlers do a good job of separating Performance from Understanding.

This is a pretty deep topic, and one that all of us at Pawsitive Vybe find increasingly more important to have a handle on. I think I’ll takeA Take is a cued Bite that replicates the placement and timing of a throw. Usually used with overs, vaults, and flips, the Take is a powerful teaching tool for creating habitual leaping and commitment to flying targets. Takes allow the handler great latitude in placing discs. Just pop it out there sharply and hold it; it’s easy to place... the conversation slow, in bite sized chunks so it’s easier to talk about.

Performance is what you do and Understanding is what you know.