We had a great opportunity to have a young energetic agility enthusiast to visit OneMind Dogs as his practical training period from school. In this blog Kim opens up his dream...
My dream is to become a professional agility trainer and establish my own firm. Actually, I already have a firm as I was a “young entrepreneur” as a minor in school and we had to set up companies for the academic year in order to get familiar with entrepreneurship. I took up the challenge and established my firm Dog Sports Dog Training and Supplies. My aim is to resale training supplies after I get agility classes started. Dog Sports is thus a good start for my professional dog trainer career. Although I finish school in Spring, I’ll continue aiming for an own business.
Every trainer has their own style. Therefore it is good to go to different classes to get new ideas. On the other hand, too many trainers and ideas aren’t good either as in the end the application of learned things is up to you. I train regularly with only one trainer, but I like to take part on weekend classes arranged nearby.
When I’m instructing classes I have one course and everybody does it according to their level of skills. If a team competing in class 3 they do the whole course in one go, it doesn’t mean that everybody should be able to do it. It is worth evaluating yourself what you could learn from that specific course, what could be done differently and what would be the best line for your dog. These are things that I have in my mind when instructing or training myself.
When instructing, I try to remember that I do it on a hobby basis. Classes should also be fun so that trainees enjoy themselves. There are both professional instructors and people who do it voluntarily. I dream about being able to work as professional instructor and make my living with agility. I have run extra classes in my club for about half a year and had my own training group for about two months. I also have substituted for some instructors during last year.
Instructing is quite demanding. You need to know what to say and do. Quite often an instructor has his own area of expertise he knows very well, but may not know about some other areas that much. For example, I’m good in handling ahead of the dog, as I run fast in relation to the dog and the dog goes independently to the obstacles. On the other hand, I tend to forget thinking about dog’s lines compared to mine: where the dog will land and where the handler should be at that point. Every handler has weaknesses as well. For example, I’m not good in handling the dog from behind because I don’t need that type of handling as I’m always ahead of the dog and my dog seeks obstacles independently.
It is beneficial to have a good plan for the class. Then it is also easier to give feedback. It would be best to try the course or train that specific topic yourself before the class. For example the instructor could try and analyze good and bad solutions for the dog’s lines before course training if he has similar type of dog as the trainee. If planning to teach a specific skill, the instructor should always know exactly what will be done and how.
Written by Kim Berglund