Maximize the value of your next K9 Seminar
Most K9 Handlers, Trainers and Administrative personnel enjoy attending K9 Seminars to brush up on skills and learn new information and techniques. To maximize the overall value of your next K9 Seminar, remember these tips:
- Register as early as possible. By registering early you ensure you have a seat at the table. Some seminars offer “early-bird” specials which could save your agency money.
- Arrive early on the first day. This will give you a chance to find the meeting room or training field and get comfortable with the layout. It will also give you time to meet the instructors. If you brought your dog, arriving early will give you time to get your dog out of the patrol car and acclimate him to the immediate area and all the new sights, sounds and smells.
- Meet the Instructors. Most instructors enjoy interactions with seminar attendees as it helps them personalize some of the subject matter being taught. It also makes it easier for you to be recognized when/if you have questions and comments.
- Sit/Stand near the front of the class. If the class is indoors, sitting near the front can eliminate some of the distractions from around the room. It also puts you in a great position for asking questions. If the class is outdoors, standing near the front will make it much easier to hear the instructor in case there is no microphone. Usually in outdoor events there are many more distractions than inside so it is more critical to get towards the front to eliminate those and get the most out of what the instructor is saying.
- Turn off your phone. This is both for your benefit and to be respectful of the instructor and your classmates. Most seminars schedule breaks at least every two hours which allows several opportunities a day to catch up with the outside world. You spent agency dollars to attend the seminar and you should attempt to gain as much information and knowledge as you can.
- Actively ask questions and participate in the discussions as generated by the instructor and your classmates. Don’t be shy, be a leader. Ask questions for the benefit of others on your team. It is ok to challenge the information provided by an instructor, just be respectful. If the seminar includes working with your individual dog, take your dog and volunteer to participate with him/her as much as the instructor will allow. The more you train, the more you learn. We train, we succeed and fail in front of our teammates so we execute with precision in the field when it counts. Do not worry about failing in a training environment, the biggest fail is not to try. Your dog wants to try.
- Don’t talk if the Instructor is talking. Just don’t!
- Be open to new ideas. Every K9 instructor and every K9 handler has a different way of doing specific tasks. One of the main reasons for attending a seminar is to learn new information, get new ideas and hear information you know presented from another perspective. The only way to maximize the result of each seminar is to be open-minded and understand that even learning what not to do is still learning.
- Stay until the seminar ends. Try not to rush out on the last hour or the last day, dismissing the information presented last as less valuable. That is usually not the case. Again, you made an investment in the seminar and you should attend the entire event.
- Fill out the Evaluation form. Most instructors ask for feedback regarding the seminar in the form of an evaluation sheet. Take time to fill this out as completely as possible as it greatly assists the instructor in making changes to the content and presentation and helps them improve upon and add more information to their seminars.