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When thinking of ego, we are not strictly defining the term as understood in Freudian psychology. The more common usage would be “the opinion that you have about yourself.” More importantly how you view yourself and how you think others might view you. In animal training the Ego needs to be checked at the door.

The assumption that goals and aspirations are the same for your dog as they are for you is folly. Your dog simply wants to avoid stress and find pleasure (reward). The worst human egos in dog training surface at a competition. All too often the handler blames the dogs for a poor performance, instead of the handler blaming themselves for poor preparation.

Additionally, you must be aware that your dog is learning all the time, not only when you think you are training. It is the unintended learning that often shows up in poor performance or in bad behavioral habits. The goal for the handler in IPO/IGP is 300 points, the goal for the dog is to feel some level of reward. It is not the same thing for both parts of the team!