Knowledge is a wonderful thing. I am passionate about sharing what I know about training dogs. I love to help others realize force, pain, fear and intimidation have no place in training animals of any sort.

I have taught both group classes as well as one on one training. I enjoy both environments. One thing I realized is common to both situations is my need to be cognizant of speaking with people who do not have the same knowledge of the subject or vocabulary which often goes with it.

Sometimes I find I make assumptions. I use concepts, phrases or words which others may not have ever heard. Much like when I speak with tech support for my computer. I often have no idea what they are talking about. Assumptions are made that I have an understanding of some basic computer principles. Nope. You have to begin at square one with me if we are talking tech support ☺  

I find I am often saying “what do you mean by …………” and I can tell by their deep sigh, to them it’s such a basic concept.

When you have no understanding of how something works, every little detail is new. I believe as an educator it’s important to try new things, to put myself in new situations where I know nothing. 

It reminds me to make sure I take the time to explain, to use non technical jargon, to stop and ask “is this making sense to you?”.

This year my Westie and I are learning something new. We are taking a class in scent detection. He will have to recognize a scent and learn a signal to tell me he found it. I will have to learn to let him pull on a tight leash, to follow his lead, to reward him at the right moment and in the right way.

Sitting on the opposite side of the learning fence, listening to instruction and then needing to do an exercise, reminds me how challenging it is to remember what the instructor said. When did she want me to reward? Praise or feed? Feed over or beside the scent? 

This helps me to break down exercises step by step. More importantly, it reminds me not to judge or be impatient when someone is not quite sure of how to do something.

I try to never make my clients feel uncomfortable if they don’t understand something. 

If they don’t, it’s not their fault, it’s mine.