Here we go, between you, me, and the interweb.
Puppy parents have questions and I must have the answers. From potty training, to tricks, to hiking off leash, there is a lot of information to share, and share I do.
Sometimes the questions are a bit trickier, maybe something about body language, or appropriate food choices, vocalizations, puppy dreams, puppy desires, reincarnated puppies, or simply, why all the farting?
Each and everyday I am called upon to answer questions that have to do with the past, present, and future. The burden can sometimes be heavy, but as a Puppy Classroom Trainer, my job is to be as prepared as possible and to never stop learning.
Yes education counts, from applied behavior analysis to class room management.
Yes observation is important, being able to watch a puppy move, the hitches or smoothness, the veining up over the muzzle, the specific twitches in specific areas, the physical prowess or lack there of, all important.
Yes studying video after video after video is vital.
Yes reading every book on ethology, learning theory, multiple species relationships, nutritional health, social development, emotional balance, and biology of the canine is imperative.
Yes science, and sciencey things like Pavlov and Skinner, you need this knowledge in order to be an effective trainer.
Yes spending countless hours in the puppy classroom every week, over decades, learning how to work with human and canine management, human and canine needs, and human and canine Team structure is the foundation that all trainers should have.
But the glue that holds all of this together, the glue that takes education, observation, knowledge, science, and classroom work, and binds it into ‘All-The-Powers-Of-Knowingness’, is the Crystal Ball. Trade Secret #27.
Without Crystal Ball Consulting skills a trainer is merely a trainer, nothing special, just filling space training puppies a little here and a little there. And you can just sense that something is missing, things aren’t quite so seamless, not quite tangible, not quite there, and you won’t be able to put your finger on it, but you will feel the void of sorts.
So, before investing years into the skills you are ‘told’ you will need to become a Puppy Classroom Trainer, invest in Crystal Ball Consulting lessons.
My recommendation is to invest in a series of ten or more lessons spread out over time, because you will need loads and loads of practice time in front of that mystical globe. Volunteer for any type of apprenticeship that your teacher has to offer, it doesn’t matter if it is washing dishes or waxing cars, just being around a Master Crystal Ball reader is worth any level of manual labor. Much like a wand, choose the Crystal Ball that calls to you, with all of the intimate time in front of this crystal wonder, you better like the feel of each other.
And then practice, and practice some more. Invite friends and family over and encourage them to throw any question they have in your direction, as long as they want to hear the real answer. You might want to start with the ‘present’ until you fine tune your skills, and then slowly, over time, work your way into the more difficult to know territories of ‘past and future’.
The present is like putting one foot in front of the other in order to walk, it just kind of happens. The past and future are a bit trickier, the ‘walking to running’ part of the foot thing. So take your time to build these skills.
Now look, you might goof up at first, get some things wrong, cause a divorce or two, but don’t go throwing your Crystal Ball across the room, it’ll break.
Just take a deep breath, make a note to self, and consider it a life lesson, and maybe those divorces would have happened anyway in the future, and your skills might be better than you know?
But practice, please practice, and practice often. Everything good worth achieving is worth the hours that you devote to it.
So if there are questions, you’ll need to have the answers, and they aren’t always going to be what you think they might be, so … Crystal Ball, the real glue of a great puppy classroom, and a great Puppy Classroom Trainer.
Things aren’t always as they seem, they’re way better, and now you know, Nancy
photo credits – Jessica Dunbar Photography