Learning and growth begins where your comfort zone leaves off!

Slice

Because of my participation in foreign competitions I spend time studying European courses and the agility handling methods of top foreign competitors. I have also sought out and taken lessons and seminars from handlers from all over the world including Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Czechoslovakia,Denmark, Finland, France, Germany & Italy. I find learning different ideas extremely stimulating and gives me plenty of different ways to handle each dog and various courses.

My love of teaching blossomed due to my own love of learning. I love to learn new things and develop new skills, which is a huge part of why I have such passion for dog agility. The constant puzzles presented to me both in sequencing and training, provide a rich and stimulating environment in which to find ways to communicate with my dog. When a new idea or move works well it is a real rush for me and my dog feeds off my excitement and loves it too.

I try to present my seminars in the manner I most like to learn. I try to do the following when I teach:

  • Break down steps into learnable chunks when necessary.
  • State Why!: That is explain the reasons for my preference for doing moves a particular way, why I pick particular moves or train a certain way.
  • Point out both what the handler is doing well and not well. I believe everyone appreciates notice of a job well done, but they also need information on what they are doing poorly in order to improve.
  • Keep the learning experience a fun one. My favorite seminars are those in which participants root for each other and tease each other in fun. I do not ever put-down students for lacking in skills. I do not sugar coat but I will always make an effort to provide a positive learning experience.
  • I believe when training my dogs to “Mold the training to the dog”. I have the same belief when working with people. If something I’ve suggested is not working for a particular team, I try to find something else that will. Or if and issue that presents itself that is more important to address than the sequence, I may work on that issue instead with a particular team.
  • I try to keep floor time approximately equal with all participants. I try not to give excessive tiem to a team that is not as proficient, but perhaps address instead a smaller segment that they can master.
  • I do not force my ideas. I often have ideas or moves that handlers have not experienced before. If a handler does not want to do something I suggest I will just try and help them with what they would prefer to do. I do sometimes ask if what they wish to do does not work for them that then they give my suggestions a try. Often as they watch fellow participants they change their mind and give it a try.
  • I present training ideas and handling moves as “Tools for your agility toolbox”. I believe the more equipped you are the more likely you will have the right tool for the job, or the right move for the course, or a way to train something that works for that dog. As different dogs enter your life you may find your preference of tools change!