Forty posts in, I'm finally able to state the premise of this blog: animal training requires self-training. No matter the species I'm working with, if I want to communicate clearly with an animal and persuade him to ally his will with my own, I will need to become more self-aware and self-controlled, more skilled in the signals I send and more attuned to those I receive. By the same token, I can only ask as much of another animal as I'm willing to put in myself. So "as good as I wanna be" makes reference to all the ways that my desire to improve my own behavior might be constrained: laziness, fear, conflicting desires, sheer cussedness. There might be other constraints on my ability to improve my behavior, some of them absolute, others elastic. But I won't discover those constraints except by testing and maybe redrawing the limits of my desire. Just as I won't discover the outer limits of Barley's or Kili's or Pazzo's abilities except by expanding my knowledge of what drives each of them and inventing new ways to channel it productively (i.e., in mutually agreeable directions).
So I start from the assumption that we're all only and always as good as we wanna be. I want to see what's possible from there.