Look Away from the Dog

Why look away from the dog? Because if you’re going teach a person to handle, train, or compete with a dog, you’ll eventually have to look at the person.

Don’t worry, this Session will demonstrate how trainers can switch their focus from the dog to the human, and back again efficiently and without missing a beat. Through videos, lecture, and audience participation, we’ll work through the details of human training when the human is in partnership with an animal (dog, horse, llama, bird, etc.)

Included in the discussion:

• Finding motivation to focus on the human

• Human or animal partner—who should learn which skill first?

• Developing a dedicated curriculum for the human client

• Describing to clients the benefits of training first without their animal partners

• Detecting clients’ hidden fears of training without their animal partners

• The logistics of separating the humans from their animal partners in a class scenario

• Identifying human behavior that can influence learning, including displacement behaviors and calming signals

Theresa McKeon

After more than 30 years as a national-level gymnastics coach, Theresa was determined to find a way to speed up skill acquisition for her athletes while simultaneously decreasing stress and fear in the learning environment. Her search for behaviorally sound techniques, clean instructions, and the proper timing of feedback and reinforcement, led to the development of the TAGteach methodology. Theresa teamed with Joan Orr, Beth Wheeler, and Aaron Clayton and Karen Pryor of Karen Pryor Clicker Training, to found TAGteach International, LLC.

Since then, TAGteach has evolved into an entire teaching protocol benefiting an endless variety of human applications. The success of the methodology has been accented by the wide range of applications embracing it. Theresa now consults and designs TAGteach programs in business management, industrial safety, medical and surgical training, sport coaching, family communication, and, of course, training for those who teach people to train their companion animals. She is a sought-after speaker around the world, including in Europe, the U.K., Taiwan, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.