Alexandra Kurland
Presentation given at the 2019 Conference

What kind of a training conversation do you typically have with your animal learners?  If you were describing it, would it be:

1) Like a one-way street where you do all the cueing and your animal’s job is simply to give correct responses?

2) More like listening to two people talking over one another with neither really hearing what the other one is saying?

Or 3) Is it more like a true conversation where you both wait to listen to your partner’s response and adjust your behavior accordingly?

For many trainers, the answer is most often 1 or 2.  They are so busy delivering their treats and then hurrying on to give the next cue, that they miss critical parts of the training conversation.  They miss seeing the cues that are evolving out of the shaping process.  They miss catching hold of moments when they can turn their prompts into deliberate cues.  They forget to look for all the cues that are coming from their animals.  They miss opportunities to provide choice, build complex chains, develop duration, and most of all provide balance and clarity to their training.  

I was tempted to call this program: “Slow Down – You Move Too Fast – Literally.”  

In this presentation, we’ll look at what it means to slow down and become a good listener.  
* What does it give you when you remember to build in deliberate pauses?  
* How can base behaviors help you?  
* When you are working with a physically fast learner – how do you slow down your training without creating confusion?  
* What are some strategies you can use to control the pace of the lesson?  
* What role do cues play in this?
* How does this help you build chains?
* How do you develop the focus and body awareness to slow yourself down so you can slow a super quick, super eager learner down enough for you both to truly listen to one another?

In other words, how do you become a truly great listener?  And how does that translate into becoming a much better trainer?

Click here to return to the 2019 Conference Program