Supporting Handlers

Handlers Supporting Handlers!

As handlers of service dogs we will encounter other teams. We may not always agree with their training methods. We need to support them anyway because they may have only been shown one way to train and may not know about the power of positive reinforcement and whole dog care. They are not in the same place we are. Supporting them and being kind will show that we care about the dog, the handler and the team. Equipment shaming is not supporting, it’s more likely to alienate that handler to kinder, gentler training methods.We should support all handlers, being kind, polite, and supportive. We can offer to help, if asked. Sometimes offering help when not asked can be seen as offensive, choose wisely when offering help.

Support can be as simple as a compliment or as complex as an offer to help train. It could be an extra leash, shoes, collar, vest, or other gear. Things I need to clear out could be something that a young or new handler cannot currently afford and desperately needs.

There’s never a wrong time to be kind and supportive. A simple smile may be all the encouragement a handler needs to continue when having an off day or the dog is going through adolescence. An approving smile doesn’t cost anything and means so much.
Supporting Tobi, the black Labrador learning confidence.

Support can happen anywhere, anytime. It can be a word of encouragement, a compliment, a hug, or showing how to break a task down so both team members understand what’s happening. As a trainer, I do my best to offer my students support at every session. If I know a certain piece of equipment is needed and I have a spare, I bring it with me. We had one public access outing that resulted in a trip to See’s Candy, a gourmet candy treat in California. I bought each person a candy.

Nick, wearing his rainbow scarf as an ally.

Support can be showing a person how to use a halter, a harness, the combination of a halter and harness, proper timing of rewards, how to make food more interesting, or just being there to listen to frustrations with a specific situation. Being a friend to other handlers goes a long way. You may be the only other handler they know. You may be the only other person they know that’s had to deal with access denials. Sometimes standing up for a team you don’t know that is having an access denial is what’s needed.

The Crazy2Calm Kindness Code

The Kindness Code is meant to serve as an agreement among all Canine Coaches to treat each other appropriately with the realization that we all come from a wide diversity of past experiences.

We must recognize that dog training is not a one size fits all approach. Just like some learners will be more engaged with a specific training style, coaches also may be able to create a specific type of training resources better than others. Those who enjoy making videos, would produce more videos whereas someone who does better at writing may produce more text based resources. Therefore we will refrain from judging each other based on the type of media that is shared among coaches.

Some of us may have limited physical abilities, energy levels, educational skills, and various learning methods. We must be understanding of other Coaches physical and/or mental limitations, working together to help make resources as user friendly as possible.

By participating in the social networking part of this collaborative, we all need to agree to recognize and embrace the differences we have in training processes, the choice of training resources shared, and the client support services that each coach has the ability to offer.

We will keep in mind that all Coaches are on an individual learning journey and we all may need compassion and kindness along the way. By understanding our differences, together we can create a place where everyone can flourish and be successful.

The Admin & Support Staff team will strive to be a pillar of strength, working to help Coaches overcome any challenges and finding a way for each individual to be successful within the collaborative.

Together we can build momentum for a community driven by supportiveness & helpfulness, where everyone can feel safe, valued, and appreciated.