Today I joined Jorge and Yvon on another private lesson with a new client, who own a 5-month old Malti-poo (Maltese/Poodle mix). They've been having problems with him barking, jumping up/lunging, and biting. All attention seeking behaviors.
I love going to the private lessons, even a bit more than doing the group classes, since it's a much more personal experience. Training is easy, (Sit, Down, Come, Stay, Heel, etc.) but it's the behavioral stuff that really gets me jazzed, because it's all about problem-solving and really knowing about dog psychology. Every private lesson we go to, I am always racking my brain, trying to see what solutions I would come up with, if I were teaching a session on my own.
In this case, for this lesson, Jorge wanted Yvon to take the lead, and he asked me if I would do an evaluation on her, and take notes as far as how I found her presentation. Jorge is really trying to push us both now, saying that he wants to stop doing lessons and get us doing them instead. He is confident that we both already know all that we need to know about dog training, but that we have to start taking more active leadership roles, in actually teaching classes. So today, he was supposed to just sit and watch, while Yvon taught the lesson, and I took notes.
It could have gone better. Yvon's been training under Jorge for 8 months now, and I've only been training with him for a month, and where a couple of weeks ago the thought of teaching a class on my own would nearly send me into a panic... after watching Yvon's presentation today, I'm not quite as worried about how I would do.
At the beginning of the lesson, she needed to be prompted by Jorge quite a few times to ask the clients what sorts of problems were arising with their dog, and what they were seeking help for. There were also many areas where she had to be prompted again to explain why the dog was exhibiting certain behaviors. Again, more areas where when she was trying to explain about certain training methods, she froze up like she had forgotten what it was she was supposed to say, or she was worried that she might give the wrong information. Also, her body language was very meek... she was almost slouching, had her hands between her knees and was fussing with her fingers quite a bit, and speaking in a very soft, unsure voice (whereas Jorge is always the opposite - he is always smiling, speaks with a lot of enthusiasm, and is very animated in his body language).
I felt bad for Yvon, being as nervous as she was... though at the same time, she's already taught a few of her own classes, and she's been studying with Jorge for 7 months longer than I have! I'm thinking, "What on earth...? This isn't that hard... this is just really basic puppy stuff..." In the end, Jorge took over with the lesson, so that we could finish up within the hour that was scheduled.
At the end, Yvon got my feedback, which was basically work on talking without being prompted, (in Jorge's words, "If I have to keep on prompting you to be a trainer, you will not get *paid* to be a trainer!"). Practice the training examples so that it becomes so automatic for you, that you don't have to think about what you're saying. And finally, watch your body language, and make an effort to act confident, even if you don't feel confident (advice that Tim's given me on *many* occasions, that I will honestly admit I still have a bit of trouble with, sometimes...).
I think that Yvon was a bit put-off by Jorge asking me to evaluate her... We went through a little stint a few weeks ago where Yvon was kind of in a jealous, insecure space, because Jorge was giving me more opportunities to train one-on-one with him, and Yvon felt pushed out of the "pack" so to speak. She felt that she should be treated with more seniority, since she's been training with him longer... but the fact still remains that even though I came in afterward, I've had over 10 years of experience handling dogs, and I know what I'm doing/talking about a lot more than she does. But I'm not cocky about it. O___o
Why the hell am I such a threat to all of these women, lately? I mean, jeez. Anyway, I digress.
Jorge wants us both to start taking more active leadership roles, and I am much more confident about my ability to be able to teach a lesson on my own now. Still a bit nervous, but I do know that when I do get started, I will have the opposite problem that Yvon is having now - whereas she doesn't open her mouth without Jorge pushing her to, I will talk and talk and talk and not shut up, once I get going. ;-P I've suggested, in this case, that Yvon do the next few lessons, and I stand back, to give her more practice, so that she can start feeling more comfortable. This is not a competition, after all. It's just dog training.
In other news, Jorge is going to the U.S. for some seminar for the week, so I have pretty much all of Tuesday until Monday of next week off, to do whatever and go wherever. Whoo! So if any of my friends around here want to hang out, now's the time, because starting next Wednesday I start working at my other job, and I won't have much free time after that. I got that part-time job working for Absolute K9, so I will now be working mornings for them from Wednesdays to Fridays, and then working the afternoons and Mondays and Tuesdays with Jorge.
Getting back into a decent routine, slowly. :]