The 5,699 things your Trainer would like you to know

I love to share knowledge, I love to share stories, I love to share conversations. It is about connection, growth, and understanding.

Sometimes however, I get so excited about all of this I have to remember that not everyone is ready, or open, or really wanting to do the work. For some I am sure that it feels like I am trying to download two decades worth of experiences and skill in a mere hour or less. The ‘deer in the headlights’ look is always my tip off. And while it probably wasn’t a ton of information, it was more than that person was ready for.

So out of the 5,699 things I want you to know, I will start with #1.

Give yourself permission to learn alongside your dog.

Training is something you do with your dog, NOT to your dog.

When you start off on a new adventure like working with your dog, you are learning a new skill, and there are actually four stages you will go through, over time, while learning, WE ALL DO THIS, every single one of us. Noel Burch developed these stages in the 1970’s.

Unconscious incompetence – ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’, Nancy

The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.

Conscious incompetence – ‘you realize you are a novice, and see all of the work ahead of you with your dog, you become very realistic’, Nancy

Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.

Conscious competence – ‘you realize the more you learn the less you know, for there is a lot to learn. This is the ‘realistic’ learner, good foundation skills, but understands there is still much to learn and practice. The curious learner sticks with it’ Nancy

The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.

Unconscious competence – The Trainer, the Dog Sport Competitor, The Coach – ‘this is from years, and thousands of hours practicing, refining, learning, changing, and growing. This does not happen over night nor should that be the expectation’ Nancy

The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

Always be curious, always be forgiving, always feel a connection ~ because this is what it is really about! Nancy

3 Comments Add yours

  1. cj says:

    I think I’m somewhere between the “conscious incompetence and conscious competence”. But “the more you learn, the less you know” resonates deeply! I’m going to keep at it- if nothing else, I’m having the time of my life with my dogs. Thank you!

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      CJ, to know this and be aware of it, and to understand the amount of work ahead of you and CHOOSING to move forward is a gift!!! I would take 1,000 of you’s ~ Nancy

  2. Nice posting about Trainer. I believe I’m somewhere between your “conscious incompetence as well as conscious competence”. However “the more a person learn, the much less you know” resonates seriously! I’m going to maintain at it- in the event that nothing else, I’m getting the time of my entire life with my canines. Thank you!

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