This week’s blog is all about the value of practicing mechanics with either yourself and/your human learners before we/they are in front of their animals. This is something that I personally do a lot! I feel like watching someone do something (i.e. the mechanical behaviours involved in training an animal) &/or having it explained is a very different thing then actually doing it oneself.
Recently I posted some of the video’s in this blog post on FaceBook & Theresa Mckeon (co-founder of TAG teach international) commented that when our animals are in front of us there is a whole new skill involved – observe/decide! I.e. we have to make decisions in real time based on what our learner does. Therefore even where we can do what’s required without our animal when we add the animal into the picture it can sometimes quickly fall apart.
P.s if you haven’t learned from Theresa McKeon before I highly recommend doing so! You can listen to a past ATA podcast episode with her here >>> https://www.animaltrainingacademy.com/podcast/training-tidbits/theresa-mckeon/
To help demonstrate how I do this with clients I have included some videos below:
Firstly though, we have been training Finn-dog to have his face groomed. Up until recently we had been practicing with two people. But it came time to fade me out and have Helen (Finn’s owner) do the training on her own…
So… I practiced how it would feel to do this by myself before pretending to be Finn and having Helen practice the mechanics first with me & then with Finn. See below:
We then added the grooming tools and added this to Helen’s mechanical repertoire:
This is where we are currently up to. Next we will add Finn into this equation! As mentioned above this will add that component for Helen where she will have to observe/decide! And then there will be another whole set of mechanical skills required! I.e. What does Helen do if Finn offers something other than a chin rest? I am excited to be continuing to work with Helen & Finn on this over the coming weeks or so! Therefore, this blog post is – To be continued… 🙂
What about you, is this something you do? How do you practice your mechanics both for yourself and any human learners you might train? I would love to know & please feel free to leave a comment below & share your approach & stories!
Animal Training Academy