How to summarise the first intensive part of the course? Intense!
It's well named.
It was 5 days of mostly theory work. Dog body language, behaviours, training techniques and the science behind them, details and proof of why aversive training is bad and positive training is good, the confusing difference between the word 'positive' in positive training and positive reinforcement or punishment, dogs' senses, how they see and god knows how much more I've already forgotten (and need to revise).
We also had some time hands-on with dogs, doing some basic training, watching a dog training class in action and playing with some 8 week old puppies (bit of a treat in the afternoon of our final day).
The main 'teachers' (I haven't figured out what to call them that actually reflects what they did and our relationship with them), were Victoria Stilwell herself, and Lisa & Brad Waggoner - who are two of the loveliest, most reassuring people I have ever met. Brad's motto will stay with me forever; "You don't know what you don't know, until you know". They were supported by Jo Pay, who organises everything to do with the Academy on the UK side, and is also one of the mentors, plus two other mentors; Shelley Heading and Gemma Ibbotson. Basically, we were getting first hand training from some of the world's top dog people.
We have a binder a mile wide, full of the slides from the lessons (and we'll have even more to add to it from the next intensive in December, and also the cyber class slides).
And we now have our mentors. And each other. And a whole shitload of work to do. And we're loving it!