What comes to mind when the following items are listed; drumsticks, a supersoaker, and a cowbell? A spinning class, right? Of course. I take spinning classes at my gym twice a week, and they're usually taught by a really cool woman. This week, though, she's on vacation and her classes are being taught by the gym's other spinning teacher. His approach to spinning is apparently to scare the shit out of everyone in class, forcing them to pedal faster and faster in the hopes that the stationary bike will actually begin moving. Away from him.
If you're familiar with spinning at all, you know that it's typically done to music, which sets the cadence for the pedaling, and the teacher dictates how often and how much you increase the tension on the bike. Tension is increased and decreased, mimicking climbs, downhills, flats, etc. The teacher will remind the class to stay on cadence. THIS particular teach reminds the class by walking around with drumsticks, beating out the cadence on various students' handlebars. Or banging loudly on the cowbell. He also periodically sprays everyone with the supersoaker, as though being soaked with sweat isn't enough. He also encourages (ie; demands) the class to yell out whenever tension is added to the bike. Um.....when I'm working my ass off, pedaling like mad and just trying to breathe, the last thing I feel like doing is yelling "ahhhhhhh!!!" each time the difficulty level is increased. Anyway, it was weird. I look forward to our regular instructor's return.
Yesterday I had a two-dog training session. The dog owner had been turned down by two other trainers because, they said, you can't train dogs not to run out of the gate (she lives on a large ranch where a gate must be opened to let in cars). Both trainers told her that A.) you can't train more than one dog at a time and B.) the only thing that'll stop them from bolting out the gate is an electric fence/shock collar setup. And so yesterday saw me running madly back and forth outside the gate (mimicking people passing by, because the dogs like to rush the gate and bark insanely) and later, riding a bike back and forth past it. The dogs also get a kick out of scaring passing cyclers. So after working for a while on just sit/stay commands, we were able to teach the dogs to sit and stay in a designated area while the gate is opened. It was successful - we even got an opportunity to put it to practice when an actual car needed to be let in. When I had arrived two hours earlier and was let in, the dogs ran in and out of the gate, and ran circles around my car, barking their heads off. When this next car was let in, the dogs remained seated, allowed the car in, and didn't move til we freed them. No electric collars (or any other pain-inducing devices) were used. Guidance, repetition, and positive reenforcement (with praise, not treats) was all it took. If the owner keeps practicing daily, things will be fine.
I'm amazed that other trainers passed up the opportunity to help her. I get that a lot - people call me and say a trainer turned them down because you can't teach a dog to (insert various dog behavior here), or that you can't train more than one dog at a time (as the lady with the four dogs and piss-soaked house was told). It seems like a lot of the local trainers will only take a situation that has a simple solution that'll make them look good every time. Anything challenging, that might take some work or possibly not leave the customers dazzled and impressed right from the start, seems to be not worth it. Which is fine with me, I need the business and like the challenge. And usually even if I don't get an awe-filled "WOW!!" at the end of a tough lesson, I do after we've finally gotten the problem resolved. And more importantly, someone gets to enjoy their dog a little more. OH, and in this case, I got to meet the bass player for a rather well-known band, since his wife was the one who hired me. I don't want to name names in a blog, but let's say the band's name involves something you do with numbers, and some very common black birds.
Anyway, it was a good experience. I hope the other trainers in my area continue to turn down clients, cause I'll take em! Unless, of course, I detect even a hint of the craziness of the rottweiler owner in previous posts.
Okay....I should go paint or something.