Marsha Houston’s Blog – 2min dog trainer – what makes a great coach or instructor

As a 2-minute dog trainer (most of my training takes place in mealtime sessions) I must be committed to providing a brief, intense training experience, whether I’m coaching my dog or my student. I believe a good instructor imparts useful information, but also shares a philosophical framework for that information.

My philosophy includes:

I believe I’m the emotional leader for my dog. If I have fun and maintain an upbeat attitude my dog will assume the same attitude, will enjoy the training experience and wish to repeat it.  I can push and put pressure on my dog in competition because I practice that in training.

I believe I’m the emotional leader for my students as well. If I assume an attitude of intensity and enthusiasm my student will assume the same attitude, will enjoy the training experience and wish to repeat it.  Students can withstand pressure in competition when they’ve practiced it in training.

My idea of a great agility coach:

My idea of the perfect agility coach and instructor is one who shares a solid training philosophy and integrates it with brief, intense, training sessions.

Students and dogs should respond with an equal dose of intensity and enthusiasm.

After all, what’s the point in a laid-back, blase’ training session that does little to prepare a student for the pressurized environment of agility trials.

A great coach applies pressure to students in class, pushes them out of their comfort zone, asks them to hurry to the start line, shouts “please go now!” to replicate the trial atmosphere, and pushes for lots of repetitions and work.  Sometimes a great coach upsets a student — it’s not always fun, but it’s often necessary, to be pushed by a great coach.

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One Response to “Marsha Houston’s Blog – 2min dog trainer – what makes a great coach or instructor”

  1. Kathy with Liz/breeze/cricket Says:

    I had not thought about how a great instructor also adds a little pressure, like to hurry up to help a team learn to handle trial pressures. Great post, thanks!

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