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Making the most of an Obedience Seminar

Throughout the year some of the top achieving Obedience Trainers make themselves available to give seminars to their fellow dog trainers. These trainers come from our local community or from anywhere in North America. We are fortunate that these people are willing to share their skills and expertise. Their goal is to help us; and our dogs be better performers.

Attending a seminar is expensive. The presenter is paid; there are travel and accommodation costs as well as a venue to pay for. The Club or person hosting, spends alot of time scheduling, organizing and needs to make it worth their while.

Make the most of your attendance at a seminar.

Auditing: (you attend and observe without your dog). Audit spots are less expensive than Working spots. That does not mean they are not as valuable. If you are new to the sport or the presenter is unknown to you, Auditing is a good idea. You can learn alot watching the working dogs, their handlers and the presenter. If you like what you see, next time book a working spot, often the presenter will be returning in the future.

Working spot: (you attend with a dog and are on the floor). If you have a working spot you will have the opportunity to answer a questionnaire about your dog, your current skill set and what you are wanting help with. Give some serious thought to your answers. Be specific on what you want help with, try to narrow it down to 2 or 3 things so that you are not overwhelmed. In your training sessions leading up to the seminar really assess and develop a goal – where you would like to be with your dogs training in the next 6 months to a year. Remember, the presenter may not know you or your dog. They can only go on what you have told them and what they see in front of them at the time.

At the Seminar. Give your full attention, arrive on time, be ready with note book and put your phone away. Check with the organizer first if you are wanting to video and check if it’s ok to share your video on social media, it may not be. An important tip; check your ego at the door. The presenter WILL find flaws in your training and those flaws could be ones you didn’t even know were there! That’s why you are attending, to learn and improve. There could be parts of the presenter’s training philosophy that do not mesh with yours. That’s ok but be open to new ideas; try them, you might be surprized. Conversely if you have a working spot and you are uncomfortable with any piece of a session just sit it out.

After the Seminar. Review your notes and any video of you and your dog’s work. Think about how to incorporate what you have learned into your training sessions, your current short term goal may have shifted. If you are a person that attends seminars often, identify any “gems” that you got from this particular seminar. If you enjoyed the weekend and got “some great stuff”, say so. That high achieving presenter appreciates feed back too!

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