My little dog training business hit a milestone this month; I hosted my first seminar.  I’ve wanted to include this educational aspect of dog training in my business model from day one, and last Spring when The Cognitive Canine was taking off I decided to host Tori Self.

Tori is an agility competitor who has achieved both national and international success with her spectacular border collie, Revolution (who just goes by Rev, by the way).  When one reaches such success, one often gets requests to teach others about the sport, and so much to my excitement Tori started giving seminars.  Now, just because a person can do something really well doesn’t mean they can teach another person to do it, and that’s a major problem in the dog training world.  Fantastically enough, Tori just so happened to have some of the best teaching skills I’ve experienced, so she can play the game and teach it too (the best package in an agility instructor, if you ask me).  She’s also a really cool chick who’s fun to hang out with, which never hurts!

I learned a lot about hosting a seminar, and about agility handling, the kind of delicious learning that can only take place by doing.  Here’s a list of just a few of the things the event and/or Tori taught me (intentionally or otherwise) that I found worth passing on to all of you:

  • Age and wisdom are not the same thing.
  • Setting rules for adults is difficult and enforcing said rules is even harder.
  • Reinforce well, and often (AKA follow your own damn advice, Sarah).
  • Organization is your friend (luckily I thought this might prove to be true, so I was on it from the start).
  • People will come out of the woodwork last minute when Tori is on the podium at World Championships (and the seminar has been full for months), NEEDING to learn from her.  This would likely be the case regardless of the seminar presenter you are hosting.
  • When you bring out a “famous” (famous!) agility person, some agility people you have never spoken to before will suddenly be your friend. Smile and don’t forget who your friends were when you ran your first dog, who was slow.
  • You can take the girl out of Florida, but you can’t take Florida out of the girl. (Might have been plain mean of me to host this thing in December).
  • Refrigerator has five syllables. How cool is that?

I’ll be having Tori back next Spring, and can’t wait to learn more, laugh more, and have a great time.

 Idgie says, “honey badger DOES care when Tori is coming back…so when? Now?”