Friday, May 24, 2013

Keeping up and learning new things

The terv trio. From left - Valor, Chancellor in back, Kody to right.

Never believe you know everything. No one does. As a behavior consultant/trainer, I want to keep learning new material, keep up with all the force free techniques out there and I want to stretch my learning by improving my technique through various competition sports.  Currently I'm taking a Theriogenology course through Unviersity of Minnestoa.

Each venue is vastly different from herding to RallyO to studying of various classwork. The skills teachings are different and yet some can spill over into behavior training.  Understand when to use what is critical business, especially when working with challenging individuals.  Behavior is my passion in all its forms.

It would be my hope that I never assume anything, never stop learning, and never stop teaching what I learn.

It is important to understand that each of my dogs learns differently and also that time affects the way they learn, how they see the world-at-large.  My Chancellor loves using his nose, so he is doing Nosework and we will be heading into our scent work (birch) in July.  He has performance anxiety, and seizures which affect his cognitive abilities, so I make sure he is working at his optimal level, NOT someone's perceived optimal level.

My Kody Bear gets bored very easily, so short sessions are best for him and he seems to really enjoy Treibball. He has his RN but has made it clear he is not liking RallyO.  Trying him in RallyO/Freestyle Element made it clear we'll continue in Treibball, Frisbee - I call him my silly heart.  He likes the "fun stuff".  Knowing this about him keeps his stress levels low. Also, knowing he loves therapy work, working with children, working with alzheimer's patients, working with unruly teens, and working with people in general, he is exposed to lots of people.  He likes to interact - people or dogs.  He doesn't like working with irratic individuals or people laying in beds, so I limit his exposure.

Valor will probably do anything, and wholeheartedly, that we do together. He likes being with me and whatever I'm doing, he thinks he should do. Right now we are focusing on RallyO/Freestyle Element and getting our details in order for performance.  Valor is very much like me - he learns the hard stuff quickly and easily, and yet a simple bow is taking a lot of time to learn - it is stretching me to figure out creative ways to teach this - what should be a simple and quick teaching.  Valor is good with people and dogs and other critters.

Making my dogs a part of my day - penciling in appointments WITH them - keeps them sharp and hones my skills also.  When working with challenging dogs it is imperative to understand what the client goes through on a daily basis and assume nothing.

Just another day in the life of a behavior trainer.

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