Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nice to meet you!

By now, most of us have heard "A puppy should be introduced to x number of people/sounds/animals/surfaces each day and by the age of x months should have had x number of these introductions.
True, being introduced to a variety of people and things is very important. More importantly, though, is how those new things are introduced.  Take a bit of time to set your learner up for success-I promise, you won't regret it.

We all, human or beast, come equipped with a unique personality that predisposes us to either react to novel stimuli fearfully or take them in stride. The age old question of "nature or nurture" is not an either/or-we are far too complex for such a black and white answer. As teachers, it is up to us to help the learner be successful by respecting his threshold. This means tossing out the cookie cutter approach to socialization and giving some careful consideration to individual learning style.


"Hello, goat"

Valentino wonders: "What kind of goat was THAT?"

 Teach your pup about new dogs, humans, animals, surfaces by all means-but do it based on a solid foundation of trust.
It is not important whether or not you think something is scary or not scary-if your learner thinks something is frightening, then it is frightening. In the photo above, Eli needs about 3 feet of distance to remain calm while being in the presence of a live chicken (the chicken was okay with that distance as well).

The best kind of teaching is the kind that happens without the learner even knowing they are being taught-it just flows naturally like water downhill.

I will leave you with this example of an excellent teacher:

There once was an all girl school that had a problem with lipstick. It became a faddish thing, at this school, for the girls to kiss the mirrors after applying fresh lipstick. No one knows why they did this-it was just a 'thing' that everyone started to do. The administration tried everything to stop this habit- from threats of detention to notes sent home to parents. Nothing worked.

One teacher was smarter than the rest. She gathered the girls together and brought them into the bathroom. Lipstick kisses covered the mirrors. Already present was Mr. Drummond, the school janitor, leaning against a doorjamb, casually holding a mop.

"Girls, I thought you would like to see how Mr. Drummond cleans the mirrors each day after school. Mr. Drummond, go ahead, please".

The janitor shrugged, then walked into one of the empty bathroom stalls, dipped his mop in the toilet, then walked to a mirror where he proceeded to swab it clean of lipstick. 

From that day on-the lipstick kisses stopped.

Work smarter-not harder!

Happy Training!

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