Friday, March 9, 2012

Page Move

Trying to be a responsible person, I'm having more things in one location.   The blog will now be at it's new location.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book 19: Plenty in Life is Free - Kathy Sdao

Short response: If you work with dogs or volunteer with dogs or if you really enjoy dogs, go order it now.     You can read it in one me.

Longer Response: It's a short book. And to the point. Yet kind of long when you think it's primarily about one small topic (it's not --too-- long. I wish it was a thousand times longer!) It's great.  The subtitles and wordplay is excellent.  She's easy to understand. She's logical. 

It's my favorite people-and-animal-relationship book.  Typically I really don't like those types of books because they're a little...non sciency and outdated and illogical and more opinion than based than of anything else. This one is none of those things!  Read it!

Despite hearing a lot about Kathy Sdao, I wasn't able to get to any of her seminars. I didn't watch any of her DVD's and at ClickerExpo I couldn't make it to any of her talks.  I heard she was great but I didn't get it.

For a while, ClickerExpo had the last sessions on Sunday as inspiring-now what to do with all this information- isn't this great sort of talks.  From this year's schedule that's not happening anymore, but the only think I saw of hers for a few years was her talk on why clicker training is really so-so-so important and how it's really not just about being nice to dogs.  It's about our perceptions of the world and our interactions with everyone and how they then interact with others.   I like that talk so much that I went to it again, the next time I was at Expo.  

And that's what the book is about, especially the last chapter.  

Plenty in life is free for Griffin!
For those that work with dogs and their owners... it's vitally important that we know exactly what we're saying, how we're influencing the human-animal bond and future interactions between the family and their animals.  They aren't necessarily interpreting our instruction, discussion, and recommendations in the way we intend for the family to understand.  Our recommendations don't always foster the types of interactions we intend.

An earlier chapter has a great section on how we believe things 'just because' and that we need to really need to re-think some of the dog-training-beliefs that exist.   One of these that Kathy Sdao brought to my attention last year: attention.  At that point, she said she wasn't teaching attention. It happened as a by-product of the other training and activities and reinforcement.   I couldn't let go. We started EVERY class of every type with attention exercises! Attention is vital!  But over time I've let it go.  Sometimes I still have teams do attention training, more often for the human than anything else.   No more attention every week.  And yet the dogs are not more inattentive than before. I save a lot of class time.*

Note... there are a  lot of religious themes in the book.  Enough that it's not something that I'd feel comfortable passing out to clients and enough that I'd mention it when I recommend it to enthusiasts. 

So now what? I'll have to think about it.  Read it again.  Change some things in my classes and lessons to better help dogs and owners.  It's the kind of book where I don't really want to do anything after I read it, I just have to think it through for a while.  For the first time, I wish I didn't have classes tonight. It's going to be hard to teach while I'm thinking so loudly.

*Yes, dogs need to know to be attentive, yes it's needed for some activities, yes it's a good starter activity, yes it can be a good way to learn clickerly things and timing and all.  Etc. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Field Trip

This morning the "Advanced Agility" class took a field trip to go and watch an agility trial.  It was nice to take them to see what we're working towards, how it should look, and how proficient the class has become. 

The class got to see how a trial runs, the various volunteer jobs, what happens, what to think about as an exhibitor and how we spend all this time, energy, and money for less than a minute at a time in the ring. 

We saw some people we know and a few people who have been my instructors or classmates in the past.  It wasn't as busy as I expected, there must have been an AKC trial within a reasonable distance to draw some people away?

I want to trial with my dogs!  Griffin went to visit and he wasn't wanting to eat but he was very attentive and working well outside.

The field trip is definitely something we should do more of in the future for several of our classes and to help students set goals and visualize what they're working towards.