I often come up with my best ideas when I’m relaxed. Nothing is forced. Ideas are free to pop up whenever they occur. In addition to guilt free loafing, it’s a great motivator for me to take quality time off when I can. I’m in the lucky position of loving my work which can make it tricky to switch off. But over the years I have become so much better at this. I used to schedule downtime in my calendar, weekends where I wouldn’t run any classes or specific weeks in the year when I wouldn’t take on any workshop invitations. Now I find it so much easier.
Included in this post:
This past year has been all about taking stock. Following my house move from England to Scotland, I got the chance to prioritise what was important to me. And what was not. Some truths were harder to accept than others. For example, not only do I enjoy teaching in person, but that I need it. I discovered that I am an introverted extrovert (“someone who is energised by being around people but can start to become depleted when around people for too long and still will crave alone time to recharge, much like an introvert.” Read more about this here.)
I love sharing my knowledge and this is never more dynamic than when I am teaching in person. Don’t get me wrong, I love sitting down and concentrating on making online courses. The chance to check research, review video footage and work on clarity of message is divine. But it’s different from teaching in person. I think that working with people and dogs in a room allows me to use all parts of my brain spontaneously. Problem solving in the moment gives me as many opportunities to learn as the students.
Be my host!
So this year I’m hoping to go back on the road to deliver some TDS workshops. That means I’m looking for hosts. Hosting a workshop can be done by anyone, but there are two must haves:
- A dog friendly venue
- A group of people who want to attend
The way these workshops operate is that you provide the venue and the delegates, I provide the content. So I travel to your venue to deliver whichever of the 7 workshops we’ve agreed on. I provide handouts for the workshops and in some cases (for Scent 1 and Scent 2) access to online content that folks can view before attending on the day.
Hosts also receive our Host Information Pack which includes a step by step guide to running a workshop, information on how to set up the venue and even a bunch of marketing ideas. I charge a set fee (plus travel) for workshops but hosts are free to charge delegates whatever they like. I’ve found that some hosts use the workshops as a way to raise extra income, while others just charge enough to cover their costs. The choice is completely yours.
This year, I’m adopting a format that some of my Elite Trainers have already been using very successfully. Instead of full day workshops, thanks to the online access to content, I’m going to be doing half day workshops for smaller numbers of handlers and dogs. This makes life easier for folks who might have dogs that will need to stay at home, or for those who can’t be left all day.
It also means less time for my patient (and impatient) dogs to be left waiting in the van. You get the same packed content as before, but packaged slightly differently. The precise timings of the workshops can be worked out with the host, though my personal preference would be afternoon sessions.
Workshops will need to be within reasonable driving distance from my home, ideally no more than 2 hours drive each way. Which means that Scotland, South to the border, North to Perth and everywhere in between, will be my sniffing ground for the moment. I have a handsome ginger cat who needs medication twice daily so I can’t do overnight trips right now.
Since 2011 when I first started running workshops, they’ve become an addictive staple for many of the delegates. Discovering a love of scentwork taught in a supportive environment where every dog and handler is given tailored coaching and advice is what makes these workshops so special. The wonderful side effects of scentwork become apparent very quickly and handlers report back that their dogs are more attentive, that there’s a stronger bond with them and that it’s great to have an activity they can both enjoy even on the rainiest/hottest days.
Get in touch
If you would like to host a workshop please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org We can then set a date and I’ll send you the Host Info Pack and booking form. If you’re not Scotland based, then do have a look to see where your nearest TDS Elite Trainer is based so that you can invite them or attend one of the sessions they are already running. I do hope to run some non-hosted sessions myself but that is dependent upon finding a suitable local venue. If you know of any dog friendly venues in Ayrshire or the central belt please do get in touch. If/when I find a venue, you’ll be the first to know!
I’m looking forward to more in person teaching so I really hope you’ll help me out and be my host.
Next up, plans for more online courses and resources at Detector Dog School!