A paradigm is our perception of reality. It can be an interpretation of “how to do things” based on previous teaching received. A paradigm shift can be a fundamental change in an individual's view of how things work.

Inefficient and/or poor performance is the result of “twenty cent thinking”. Translated this means the “two dimes” worth of training experience are not enough. Improvement will not become a reality until there is a significant paradigm shift. Admitting to being narrow minded is the beginning. The “fix” is to somehow create meaningful distance between your “two dimes”. The expression "stuck in a rut" comes to mind. 

Before modifications are possible, the present must be more clearly defined. It is a challenge to look at one's self in the mirror with the intent of becoming more aware. The reflection is not often understood or accepted and being closed minded inhibits the process. In some ways, “twenty cent” thinking is safer because it is easier to remain in a comfort zone.

Metamorphosis involves risks. The focus to change by altering the status quo by doing things differently is at times uncomfortable and often laced with doubt. In essence, the single most important driving force behind this approach is to have an improved trainer and a dog rise above the old.  

The process of making a paradigm shift begins by accepting the simple realization that working harder and doing “more of the same” (which is not acceptable) is simply a mistake. Feeling out of balance in the process of shifting tactics is normal. Embrace it and remain consistently persistent. 

"You are what you are" describes the present skill level at the beginning of the "red line". The primary motivation is a desire to improve. Information is offered and applied to impact a present skill level and the initial results are generally described as de-stablization...things will get worse. That is normal!

New is often "awkward" which leads down the red path. It is important to accept this as  part of the process. The key is to "stay the course" accepting the awkwardness of informative learning which precedes the transformative learning process.  With practice and perseverance, new and better skills/behaviors will eventually develop during the phase of transformative learning. Perseverance is paramount for working through the low confidence and morale disorientation phase. The key to excellent training is to avoid "going there" to begin with. However, learning from mistakes is  part of the progression. Avoiding them is better. "This is what I do because it is all I know." is perfect.    

The phrase "Things will seem worse before they get better" is accurate for the   sequence of a Paradigm Shift Process. However, with a skilled trainer, these situations are very brief and smoothly dealt with "in the moment".  

It should be emphasized that if training were perfectly seamless, a Paradigm Shift  experience would never be necessary. In a perfect world..........

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"Thinking" Update 1/9/19

                                                                Update 1/11/19

In continuing this review of the "The Paradigm Shift", Webster defines it as "an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way". I use it frequently.

A change for the better is the usual goal. In terms of learning how to train a retriever, it is fairly normal to take in new information regularly and often feel discomfort in the initial phases of each step. The key is to persist and not loose focus because if you are on the right track things will improve. The following page is a description of that process which will make training much easier if you understand the sequence.

The first phase is informative learning. Any time you attempt something new, there will
be discomfort and de-stabilization. Morale may decrease and disorientation often occurs. It will be uncomfortable. It is critical to recognize this and embrace it as normal. If one persists, learning is transformed to a higher skill level.

Athletes that understand this process progress quickly. The key is to have a steady "facilitating environment". Part of that environment is have a long term plan...a retriever training program. "Part" suggests the need for more in the way of a "helping environment". One may have the time, but having someone to keep your "morale" high and provide a solid "facilitating environment" will make the process much more doable.

This is a detailed justification for having a mentor.

                                    The ramifications of the Paradigm Shift.

Using three different sets of parameters, it is useful to contrast and compare the approaches required in each of the following. Compare means how they are similar. Contrast means how they are different. Compare and contrast should be “down on paper” (written out) and used as a justification for the each training session.  
 
The first is a novice trainer with his first retriever pup.
     1. There are actually two paradigm shifts that must be dealt with.
     2. Two students are learning at the same time. …..takes longer.
     3. Having a plan in place provides focus. 
The second is a talented, experienced trainer with just another pup.
     1. There is only one paradigm shift to deal with, the pup’s “the ideal situation”.
     2. The “shift” is easily adapted to the needs of the pup. This is more useful for
          the retriever…..the flow is dictated by the trainer.  
The third are trainers that have not very done well with previous pups
or have had some success but are searching to improve (determined to get better results).
     1. This is the most complex of the three (realistically the most difficult to deal with).
     2. The pup has a trainer that is trying change his approach which impacts the pace          of the pup’s learning curve (bumpy, slow process because the trainer is focusing
         on changing himself at the same time). Becoming a skillful facilitator requires
         discarding old conditioned responses and establishing what is necessary. There
         are two paradigm shifts in motion with each impacting the other. Awareness is
         the key to success.  
3. Old “baggage” is difficult to identify, isolate and “weed out”……without a plan. 
However, if a trainer “identifies” which category they belong in and applies the basics of a Paradigm Shift, progress is more likely. Understanding the dynamics of the “situation” provides input.

Retriever training is often a paradigm issue.