Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Practical magic

I've always been glad that I did a four year stint as an instructor at the military cooking school in Borden.  Hands down it was definitely the most interesting ... albeit busiest .. posting of my career.   What wasn't to love?  Widely varied schedules that never became routine?   The chance to hone my own tradecraft from my fellow "hotshots"?   The unparallelled opportunities to let our imagination inspire the students to stretch their own wings?
Within a very short time, I discovered that I absolutely loved teaching.  Mind you ... like any other job there were new skills to learn.  Most importantly, I had to step back and realize that while practice had made my personal tradecraft shine, the glossary and methodology were uncharted waters for most of the students in my charge.
In other words ... they still had to learn the language and discover all the practical bits.   Failure to remember that would leave them lost and discouraged.
This holiday season, I've been very much reminded of this as my daughter and her family are making their first journey as dogparents.    When I was talking about positive training methods, they had no idea it was an actual term to describe humane dog training until they started doing their homework.
After all, in committed families where pets are kept for life, most children were too young to remember the nuts and bolts of the dog training process.   Nor were most of the wonderful advances like clicker training around at that time:)
One of the other best bits about this day and age is the ability to share information online.   The great ladies who invented the clicker leash have an awesome How To page on their website and I've been told they are planning on expanding this treasure trove in the new year.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a demonstration video has immeasurable value.  Does this mean my grandoggy won't be going to obedience classes?  Of course not!  But it DOES mean that right here, right now, there are tools helping her new pawrents become more confident.   Humane tools.  Gentle tools.   And who knows how often they may have even been lifesaving tools?
What time is it?   Its always time to remember that a little 'practical magic' can work wonders.

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