“The Talented K9 Trainer” (article)

TheJournal_Winter2015-TarheelK9Becoming an Expert Handler or Trainer

By Jerry Bradshaw, Tarheel Canine Training, Inc.

In 2010 in a blog for the Harvard Business Review, work performance guru Tony Schwartz wrote that a minimum of 10,000 hours of deliberate concentrated practice is necessary to become an “expert” in any complex task.

Let’s assume that dog training and handling is one of those complex tasks. If we were to do 40 hours of deliberate practice a week (impossible) it would take 250 weeks to become an expert. There are 52 weeks in one year, so that comes to about 4.8 years of deliberate practice (at an impossible rate of 40 hours of practice a week). Let’s say, we do something more reasonable, but equally unlikely, such as 20 hours a week, then that means we are looking at 9.6 years to become an expert in any complex field such as dog training or handling.

For police dog handlers, we require as an industry standard, 4 hours per week of in service training, for a rate of 16 hours a month. How off the mark are you at being an expert dog handler if you do just the minimum? The answer is, a lot off the mark according to Schwartz.

Read the rest of the article (with downloadable PDF version) as published in the winter 2015 edition of “The Journal : The Voice of Law Enforcement”magazine.

Also see our other training articles.