Week 5 of Train-the-Trainer has presented some interesting challenges and learning experiences. The clients arrived on Monday and my fellow students-turned-trainers and I have switched gears into "teaching" mode. We have been responsible for running the day-to-day activities with the 5 clients, writing and presenting lectures, giving and grading quizzes, and putting out fires left and right. Having only learned this information over the past month, it is a challenge to convey confidence and authority to the clients and to gain their trust. One of the most important lessons that we learned this week was that being too nice isn't going to get ourselves or our clients anywhere. As Lu says, whatever you give them on the first day, they will accept. This means that if we had been demanding and challenging and tough the first day, we could have been demanding and challenging and tough from that point forward. Unfortunately, none of us (and I will take a lot of the blame since I was in charge the first day) were tough enough on Day 1. We couldn't get harsher from there, so we essentially set the bar too low and had nowhere to go. Our bad.
All of us have been working our butts off this week. There have been days when we started at 7am and ended at 10pm. I think it's paying off, though, and I'd rather work a 15-hour day at ECAD than an 8 hour day anywhere else. Today was the first day when we really saw that the clients and their dogs were bonding, and that people seemed to be having success utilizing their dog for its intended purpose. I cannot tell you how many tears I've seen over the past week as we've pushed people to their limits. It feels like as soon as I get one situation under control, another one is starting right back up. From what I've heard, this is always true in team training. We don't call it bootcamp for nothing. I owe you pictures... stay tuned.