Clean Run - November 2012 - (Page 30)

© DOGHOUSE ARTS PART 1 Being a Good Student By Elaine Coupé What is your goal when you attend an agility class? Is it socializing with your friends? Is it a break from the daily grind of work and chores? Is it spending time with your dog? Is it improving your skills? Any of these answers could be correct depending on you, your dog, and your goals. Regardless of the answer though, there are just a few things that make you welcome in class or “dreaded.” Yes, there are students that I dread seeing, although I work as hard with them as I do anyone else. Why are they the difficult students? It’s usually quite simple, and it’s usually due to one of three things: 1. They make excuses. 2. They need to pay attention, but don’t. 3. They are there simply to show you how wonderful their dog is (and thus are usually reluctant to try something new). challenges that help you improve as a team. Sometimes that means I need to let you know that a piece of your foundation is weak and needs work. Sometimes that means I want you to do a sequence a certain way because we are focusing on a certain skill. All the time it means I really don’t want or need to hear: “Can I show you my dog can do it the other way?” or “But (insert famous name here) has a dog just like mine and she/he can’t train it either,” or “My dog can’t do that,” or “My dog won’t do that,” or any other excuse that in your mind makes it okay not to try. Here’s a simple rule of thumb. If you’re asking a question, you’re probably trying to learn. If you’re making a statement, you’re probably making an excuse! should be kept to a minimum because by watching you can see how it is done, whether it was done well or not, and how you want to handle the sequence in relation to your dog. It’s frustrating to have a student say, “I don’t know how to handle this sequence,” when it was demonstrated by the instructor and then run by four or five others before them. While socializing is fine up to a point, socializing shouldn’t be a higher priority than learning. If it is a higher priority, then at some point you are wasting everyone else’s time as the instructor tries to show you specifically what was already demonstrated and what everyone before you did over and over. If you are a verbal learner, don’t just say “okay” when something is explained. Be sure that you understand it. Ask questions. Restate the concept in your own words. It’s frustrating as an instructor to ask a student, “Why are you doing it that way,” and get the response, “I thought that’s what I was supposed to do.” Especially when they follow up with, “That’s what you taught us,” and “that” is so not what was taught! Clean Run | November 12 Know How You Learn Another important point is to know how you learn. Some people like verbal information, some people need to watch others do something (visual information), and others need a combination of the two. If you are a visual learner, pay attention in class! Class socializing Avoid Making Excuses As an instructor, my goal is pretty simple. I want to present appropriate challenges to you and your dog; 30

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - November 2012

Clean Run - November 2012
Editorializing: Sportsmanship Is Not Just About Being Nice
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility...
Backyard Dogs
The Four Agreements
Power Paws Drills: Working Opposites
Training with the Stars: Jeannette Hutchison
What’s in Your Toolbox?
Being a Good Student, Part 1
Analyze This!
Tips for Weave Pole Entries
Not a Practice Dog Anymore
The 2-Minute Warm-up
The Worrier: Solutions for the Dog That Is Worried or Afraid
What Is a Ketschker Turn?
Agility Mind Gym: Persistence and Determination
Building Blocks: Building a Better Lead-out

Clean Run - November 2012