Me getting ready for my talk-on the way there_
Last year was my year to really work on skills, like obstacle skills and training skills and really push my boundaries ;-).
This last couple of months I have felt very motivated to really push some of my personal boundaries, working outside the comfort zone! :-).
Soooooo, when a friend asked me to come and speak to her club about positive dog training, I thought yeah, why not...another good place to stretch my limits and work out of the old comfort zone.
As the talk got closer I started to panic-YIKES, who has a topic like positive dog training, much too loose and much too broad. Public speaking always brings back memories of me feeling like a bowl full of jelly in public speaking in junior high school.
I got lost on the way to my presentation, NOT HELPFUL! LOL, but got there on time and I thought there would just be a few people but there was a room full of people. OOOH dear!!!! And to make it worse as I was introduced to people as the speaker of the evening-I started getting more nervous then....I quickly assessed they were not dog people, nice people but not dog people at all!!!!
I had sort of been under the impression these were dog people, so what I had planned really did not seem as appropriate once I met my target audience. I would have been a lot better if I could have spoke right away, but first there was dinner, and a meeting and finally my turn. The extra time did give me a few minutes to think how I could sort of change what I was going to talk about to fit this group more.
I was motioned to the middle of a circle, so there was no hiding ;-). I know my voice was a little shaky at first and I think it cracked a few times but using what I have been learning lately to deal with lots of other things, I just let myself get carried away and took a deep breath and remembered I was talking about something I feel very passionate about, and I trusted myself to be able to communicate that to a group that was not overly interested in dog training, but was a very nice group who I did feel like were on my side.
I talked about how clicker training an positive animal training worked and about the benefits and what was possible, then I shaped a trick with Breeze in front of everyone.
Breeze used to be a bit on the spooky side and prone to bark at strangers so I did not know how she would do, and she used to be pretty poor at shaping....but Cricket was sooo wild after her ride in the car--I felt Breeze was my best bet. She was AWESOME and the crowd was "helping" me-you could hear them marking when we got the right response-it was pretty cool. As soon as we did the shaping I opened up the floor to questions and there were a lot, which were all things I felt pretty good about, all things that were things I felt I could answer with confidence.
I had been asked to do about 15 min, and I thought no way, but with all the questions and discussion at the end it ended up about 40 minutes that just flew by. During the questions Breeze curled up and laid down and snoozed, she acted like she had been a demo dog for years!
I was really proud of myself and proud of Breeze, I felt like we both pushed our boundaries and just being there talking gave me more confidence in what I do know about dogs.....Of course I did leave on a high but by the next morning was thinking of all the things I wish I had said, but in the spirit of being kinder to myself I shoved that to the side and let myself feel good about conquering another challenge, this pushing the comfort zone can be pretty cool sometimes! All in all I do think everyone seemed to be interested so I do not know how much I helped promote positive dog training, but I do not think I hurt the cause at all! hahahaha.