Puppy Talk – Puppy Healthcare
One week to go till pick up day and two things remain on my list: Vets, and pet insurance.
We have several vets close by, but never having owned a pet that required a vet, I’m not really sure what I’m looking for. There was that incident with George, my fan-tailed gold fish, who got a large piece of gravel stuck in his mouth, but emergency home surgery, with a pair of tweezers and a steady hand, soon sorted that one out!
My only reference point for vets is the 1970's TV show ‘All Creatures Great and Small’, but as we neither live on a farm, or in Yorkshire, even this limited knowledge is useless. In the end a quick visit to our local Vets, where a lovely lady asked me lots of questions, talked me through the basics, and gave me some bedtime reading about a Pet health plan, made me quite content that I had found the Vets for us.
Unfortunately, there is no happy receptionist holding your hand through the process of choosing pet insurance on-line. Just a computer screen, a bunch of questions, some of which bear no resemblance to the pet we own, a limited policy overview and a monthly figure to compare against. Should I go with a major brand or a less known option? Why would lifetime cover be better than annual? And does it mean I love my dog any less if I plump for a cheaper option!
In the end, I opt for the well-known brand with life cover. In the absence of any past experience, I can only go with what feels right.
Trainers Talk – Trainers Welfare
So, how does puppy health care translate into Trainers welfare? It's actually not that difficult to make the links. An animal’s health isn't solely dependent on a Vet. The keen eye of the owner and positive interaction with the general public will also give a puppy a great start in being a happy well developed dog. In the case of a Trainer, the general public become the delegates, the puppy owner becomes the Line Manager and the Vets become the Mentor.
Delegates, just like the general public, come in all shapes and sizes, offering different experiences and challenges for Trainers. It’s important to gain as much exposure to as many different types of delegates as possible. Why? Because if a Trainer only ever interacts with one type of delegate (i.e new starters), or one type of environment (i.e in a meeting room), then over time it becomes harder to transition, limiting options for progression. Exposure doesn’t have to mean training, it could be attending meetings or running projects as long as it gets you in front of different types of audiences.
Line Managers of course, don’t ‘own’ Trainers! They are however, accountable for their welfare. Just as an owner should socialise and train their puppy, a Line Manager should give opportunities for Trainers to gain new experiences and offer to observe and give feedback on a regular basis. To a busy Line Manager this may seem like a ‘nice to have’ but, in reality it’s a must! If a trainer / training team is going to be perceived as a professional integrated part of a business, they will need to plan for their own development as well as everyone else’s!
Mentors are a valuable part of any Trainers development. They are one step removed from the Line Manager, and while they may ask how things are in general, they are more invested in specific development issues. Just as a Vet would assess general wellbeing, they are specialists and will always look to diagnose and facilitate specific improvements.
Trainers are often hard wired to naturally develop others, and tend to learn through experiences, and sometimes qualifications. But think about it, we create training needs analysis for businesses to strive towards achieving the future, why is it then that so many Trainers do not have a Professional Development Plan that offers the same insight for their own future? I now have a healthcare plan in place for Maisie’s arrival: Vets, socialisation and training courses. I’ve also done my research on what to look out for regarding any health issues. The question now is… What do you have planned for your own welfare as a Trainer?
Nikie Forster is Director of Curious Lighthouse Learning Consultancy, where she specialises in enabling Trainers and Facilitators to enhance their performance, whether they are at the very start of their journey or experienced professionals ~ including mentoring options. Interested ~ check out www.curiouslighthouse.co.uk)
Nikie Forster & Maisie the Austrialian Labradooble
When we decided to get a dog, I combined our new arrival with my passion for Learning and Development (L&D) to create these blogs. Challenging myself to link each new dog experience with L&D.