How do you become a better animal trainer?
Here’s four quick tips (discussed in more detail here):
- learn from many teachers
- learn from many individual animals
- learn from several animal species
- keep an open mind
Another useful approach is to acquire overall good trainer habits. And in the video below (chapter 12 from the final module of my online course Advanced Animal Training) I discuss what I think are 30 such useful trainer habits.
Not that the concepts are that terribly advanced, frankly – most of them are very useful to beginner trainers too!
When I first started planning this lesson I was originally thinking of discussing common trainer mistakes, but that would end up being a long list of don’t do this, and don’t do that.
So, rather than bring your attention to undesired behaviour I’ll introduce some useful trainer habits, and explain why I think they’re valuable.
The do’s rather than the don’ts.
I realize I need to temper the statement that “the animal is always learning”. Strictly speaking, that’s not true – learning is not going on 24/7 all throughout the animal’s life. However, I think it’s a useful mindset to have, and to behave as if each moment is a potential learning moment.
I published and discussed each and every one of these habits on my Facebook page – head on over there to check them out in more detail, and follow the individual discussions!
Also, which useful habits have you acquired (and there are bound to be many that I’ve overlooked!) that’s helped you become a better animal trainer? Please let us know in the comment’s section!
Several of my students asked for posters illustrating the different habits, so I prepared a pdf with all of them. Interested in a copy? Just click here.
Of course, acquiring good habits is not all there is to becoming a great animal trainer, but it’s a start.
And as Zig Zigler once said: you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.