This quote (from Julie Daniels) was shared by a fellow student at Fenzi Dog Sport Academy in a discussion thread about memorable instructor quotes and it really resonated with me.
How do you like to be taught? Although we are all individuals, with our individual preferences, my guess is there are some common preferences we share. I like to have things explained to me, and my questions answered before I try something new. If I'm trying something new under my teacher's supervision I like to feel like they are encouraging and patient, especially if I'm moving out of my comfort zone. Constructive feedback to help me improve and time to practice will help me get better.
So, what would it be like to be my dog? To be your dog? Do we break things down into small pieces so we can explain what we want? Do we listen to our dogs when they tell us they don't understand? Since they can't speak to us with words to tell us they are unsure or confused, we need to look at their responses and body language for this information. Are we encouraging and patient with our dogs? Do we set up times for them to practice?
But there's another way to look at this quote. I don't just train dogs, I train people how to train their dogs. How do those people feel when they are learning from me? Do I explain, listen and encourage? Am I patient and kind? How can I do better?
I love teaching dogs and people, I love seeing that moment when things click and the light bulb goes on. I also love learning, I love discovering new things. I hope you do too. Happy training!