My dog Winston recently went to Dog School. And he did really well. This was a surprise.
Because he's a rescue, we don't know what happened to him in his former life. But we do know that he's terrified of everything. He hates going in the car. He worries about other dogs. He's scared of people he doesn't know.
He's seen trainers and behaviourists before. I've read loads on dog training and dog psychology (quick tip - if Cesar Milan says it's the right thing to do, do the exact opposite). But his previous stints at Dog School were mainly unsuccessful.
Why the difference this time? The course materials were no different to before. The trainers weren't any better than previously (although they were amazing).
I think the fact is, this time Winston was ready. He's been with us for three years, he's finally feeling a bit more settled, a bit safer. He's learning that not every dog wants to attack him, he's learning that not every stranger wants to kick him. So he can concentrate on the course and getting the biscuits.
Sometimes, you can have the best training materials in the world and it means nothing to you. Other times, you're just ready for the knowledge and you lap it up.