By Lynda Kavanagh
I’ve been training for well over 25 years and I find it is getting harder and harder to keep audience’s attention. It makes sense because our world is getting faster and faster and that means people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. So, I always say I’ll do backflips if I have to to keep people’s attention when I am training.
I recently taught a group of youth who are preparing to move into the career section of their lives. My topic was Business Etiquette – a very important topic but probably not the most interesting for this age group. I was nervous but they were great and opened their minds.
I’m back this week to talk with them about Social Media Etiquette and Dealing with Difficult People, again, important topics but maybe not that interesting at the moment to them. But this time I will have a huge advantage. The organizers, #Taber Adult Learning, have approved that I can bring my dog Peanut to the sessions. Peanut was trained as a pet therapy dog. My daughter-in-law took her to pet therapy classes at our local hospital and Peanut passed with flying colors. She was rewarded by receiving her own name tag, and invitations to visit the hospital for lots of hugging and tummy rubbing.
Peanut excelled and progressed to visiting senior lodges. This week her therapy learning will move her into another area – the training room but now, she will be training instead of being trained. I know she will do well because I’ve seen the faces of those she has visited with before. Their eyes light up, a smile comes to their face and their hands automatically move towards her so they can pet her. I’ve seen people who are lost in their own minds, perk up when they see her, I’ve seen people who may look grouch on the outside, absolutely melt when they come in contact with Peanut.
By the way, Peanut is a curly haired Jack Russell. Not the type of dog to relax and sit still for someone to pet her. She is a wild thing but, when she is working her therapy, she just seems to know she needs to give these people a little bit of her time.
I know this will help these young people learn what I am presenting to them, in a better way. Thanks to Taber Adult Learning for being so progressive, and thanks to Peanut. Her reward will be meeting new friends, getting tummy rubs, and probably a few peanut butter treats.