In horse training, if either horse or rider loses their balance, bad things happen! As such, balance is taken quite seriously in the equine world. In contrast, when we train our dogs, we don’t observe nearly as obviously unpleasant (or dangerous) results if either party gets a bit wobbly. As such, we don’t really pay much attention to this concept at all. Could we be ignoring balance at our peril? Spoiler alert: The answer is YES!
While negative outcomes might not be immediately obvious, a careful examination of the impact of balance on training reveals that ignoring balance — our own and that of our dog — may indeed lead to unexpected fallout. And I’m not just talking about injuries.
Training without paying careful attention to balance, at both ends of the leash, may contribute to arousal issues, poisoned cues, reduced confidence, accidental punishment, errors in performance, and more. Being unaware of the impact of balance during training may even contribute to behavior issues such as anxiety and being targeted by other dogs. Indeed, the more I dig into this topic, the more I discover that many of the problems we think are training issues may in fact be balance problems.
Curious to know more? Join me in this exploration of the impact of balance — our dogs’ and our own — on our training outcomes and on the overall physical and emotional wellbeing of our canine partners.