Thursday, February 2, 2017

Habit of the Week ~~ Striving for Accuracy

Strive: to make great efforts to achieve something 
Accuracy: correct, precise, hitting the target

Striving for accuracy is working hard to accomplish my personal best.  Striving for accuracy takes patience, persistence, hard work ~~ as well as a willingness & humility to receive instruction from someone who knows more than I do. 
I thought back to when I was learning to train Chester.  I told the students about my friend named Jill, a dear friend, and superstar dog trainer. 

I clearly remember the day Jill was giving me some tips on how to train Chester to ‘heal’ close by my side.  I had given Chester the  heal command  and obediently my buddy scooted in pretty dog-gone close to me. He had made a good effort and was about  12 inches from my side    I told him “good boy!!!” and started to treat him.

Jill interrupted me, and in a very firm AND calm voice said,  "Wait a minute!" ………”Is that really what you want?  Is he really close enough to you?”

I shook my head, and showed her where I really wanted him.  I really wanted him so close to me that his fur almost touched my leg.  

“Then don’t settle for anything less,” she said, “ask him for his very best….he can do it.”

And so, I patted my leg and told him, “Closer!” After a few trys, and a few failed attempts, Chester at last got it and scooted right next to me in dazzling heal position.

“Yes!” I told him, and treated him.  It was a proud moment for both of us. Actually all 3 of us --Jill included.

I learned much in that moment. About myself. About training Chester. 

Expecting the very best of Chester  has served us both well. It’s definitely harder than taking the 'settle for less' path.  Takes incredible patience, persistence, and hard work, extra time, but, worth it. 

In fact, Learning to Strive for Accuracy  while training Chester to “come” actually saved his life on one occasion.  There was the time Chester saw an –oh-so-tempting- squirrel across the street. He began to chase squirrel.  I saw mini van coming on fast approach. I yelled, "CHESTER COME!!!"  He took a nano-second to look at squirrel and look at me. Thankfully, he chose me. Had we not put in hours of hard work, teamwork, consistency, training   ~~ he probably would not be here today to tell you this success story!

In the classrooms...we talked together how learning for Chester can be such hard work, takes lots of practice, and how he has to try  over and over to get good at something. It isn't always easy for him. We also talked about how Chester's best, does not look like another dog's best --- because dogs are all made differently, so unique, with different strengths and weaknesses! A Basset Hound can not run as fast as Chester --- but both dogs can run their personal best and feel proud of running a great race!

These stories opened the door for students to be courageous, sharing and writing  about things that were hard for them, areas where they needed to Strive for Accuracy.  From math to reading, from riding a bike to ice skating ~~ students shared with Chester how they struggled too....and how they would work hard and practice just like he does.

PS....Just gotta add this 1st grade story.  So, I brought Chester's favorite stuffed squirrel to class. I put the squirrel on one side of the classroom, placing it in a spot where we all could see fuzzy gray squirrel. Chester and I went to the other side of the room.  I began to tell the story..... when I got to the part about Chester seeing the wonderful, amazing, furry, and dazzling, squirrel on the other side of the busy street.....  I kid you not, Chester let out this big ole bark, looked at me, then started trotting across the classroom to get his squirrel.  He is such a silly boy, and a ham. And the kids just love him. Laughter is good for the soul :)

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