About Me

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My name is Lesli Hyland. In my fifty one years on this earth, my home and my heart have been graced with the company of twenty four dogs. Many came to me as seniors. All of them taught me something and helped determine the course of my life. I became a dog trainer because of them. I met my friends because of them. My husband and I are are forever bonded by our mutual connection to them. Currently, as a Dog Walker I have access to other people's dogs and I am allowed to experience their unique personalities. The dogs make me a better person by forcing me to closely examine my motivation, my actions and my choices. Everything I do affects their behavior, safety and happiness. It is an awesome responsibility. The dogs keep me honest.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Training Goals

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have told my students that they need to be clear when communicating to their dogs.  I tell them to picture what they want the dog to do. How can the dog possibly get it right if they themselves do not have a clear picture of what it should look like?

Today an agility instructor asked me "What are your goals for Tawnie?" 
I want us to run fast and happy together.  
I want us to have fun.
I want her to love agility.
But suddenly I thought, "Yes, but what exactly does that look like?"
I realized that I myself did not have a clear picture of what I wanted.  I certainly did not have a plan for the steps needed to reach those lofty goals.

So, here goes.  I'll try to articulate my REAL agility goals for Tawnie.

I want to develop speed and independence through the use of targeting.
I want to remove ANY and ALL demotivating habits or maneuvers (such as front crosses which slow her down considerably) from our training.
I want to TRY TRY TRY to move seamlessly from a missed obstacle to a successful sequence without any indication from me that Tawnie made a mistake.  Let's face it - the mistake was likely mine.
I want to build Tawnie's love of agility by increasing my rate of reinforcement, by giving her as much enthusiasm as I want in return and by lowering my criteria at the first sign of confusion so she can succeed.

I want to be a better handler, so she can be a better team mate.
"Ready Tawnie?  Let's GO!"


Wearing my heart on my sleeve

After careful consideration (ten years worth...) I finally took the leap.  From this point forward, not only will Pogo be forever in my heart...he'll be forever on my skin.

Here is the picture the tattoo artist worked from:
And here is the tattoo:

Thank you Bald Bill 

in Burlington, VT

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Puppy's Plea

A Puppy's Plea

Will you teach me all about your world?
Translate your language into mine?
Will you help me to succeed 
and reward me when I try?

Can you laugh at my mistakes
and accept my imperfections?
When I try and somehow fail,
Can you adjust your expectations? 

Will you control me enough to keep me safe,
but give me freedom to explore?
Will I know that I am special?
Of your love will I be sure?

Can I run and bark and chew and chase?
Not always SIT and STAY.
Will your voice be music to my ears
and my name mean come and play?

Will I be the dog you dreamed of?
True companions, you and me.
Will you lead me through example?
Help me reach my destiny.