No more advanced training

As with every Chicken Camp I’ve attended (and now I can say I’ve attended ALL of them!), the experience has left me with a renewed commitment to the study of changing behavior – that of my dogs, my students, and most importantly, myself.

Bob Bailey has a lot of “-isms”, nice little sayings that stick in the mind and illustrate his points succinctly.  But, in this Chicken Camp, one of his -isms REALLY stuck with me, and it is this:

“…Advanced Training…is simply the precise application of the FUNDAMENTALS…”

I like this, because it rings true with everything I do with my dogs AND everything I teach to others.

I’ve long had a difficult time coming up with descriptions for “advanced handling” seminars and workshops, because any issues that we (me, my students, seminar participants, etc.) have are always issues with the fundamentals – really, there’s no such thing as advanced.  I’ve posted on this topic several times before, HERE is just one example. Often times it seems that those who are looking at signing up to participate in my classes, online classes, or seminars, are put off at the thought of signing up for foundation or novice seminars, because they are “above” that level. If I publish a description of a seminar or workshop as anything below the level of “Masters” or “International”, there is likely to be a certain percent of the population that won’t even bother to consider signing up – and a large percent of those same people will miss out on learning something fundamental! If you don’t know what the fundamentals are, you can’t possibly master them well enough to apply them precisely…

Those who I work with who are dedicated to the mastery of their handling skills are usually perfectly happy to work on very short handling sequences, because they have at least some appreciation for the idea stated above.  When I work with Linda, albeit not as frequently as I’d like, we often end up working on very short sequences, and it’s always something fundamental that I need to work on.

I’m shirking my box packing duties, but I wanted to write on this topic before I forgot about it.  I want to remember this particular -ism, and further, I want to adopt it for my own use with others. So, going forward, you’re not likely to see a description of an upper level “advanced” workshop, class, or seminar that I’m teaching that I’ve written that doesn’t include the statement above, or the statement below:

“…Advanced Handling…is simply the precise application of the FUNDAMENTALS…”

The more advanced we get with our training or handling, the more precisely we are applying our knowledge and mastery of those fundamentals, whatever we may consider them to be.

What the fundamentals ARE is an entirely different topic – I believe that I’m working off a systematic approach to handling and training that is based upon the fundamentals, and I believe them to be true and real, although I don’t cling blindly to them as The Truth (capital TT). Others claim that the fundamentals they believe in are the truth, and still others claim their content to be The Truth (and this last group I’d personally steer clear of, and advise others to do the same, or at least approach with skepticism).

Do you have a strong grasp on the fundamentals? Can you apply them precisely? If so, congratulations, you’re “advanced” (much tongue in cheek!) 😉

Here’s my “final demonstration” from Chicken Camp, although it’s a very small part of the whole. It’s fun, and it’s observable, but the real takeaway is much less observable, and much more personal:

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