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Wind at your Back

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74 – September,2015

Life is a choice, choose to live it

by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia

Everyone has heard the phrase “the wind at your back”. It has been used by sailors and those struggling to succeed for decades. The idea is straightforward. When the wind is at your back you get an advantage from the push and its force. In the world of dogs, two examples come to mind when I hear someone use this phrase. The first occurs when breeders develop the eight skills needed to breed and exhibit their dogs. The second occurs when researchers and the canine community combine efforts to discover better methods to improve our health. Both illustrate that a little extra help can make a significant difference. Skill development increases knowledge and provides the push and advantage that makes the difference when there is competition for quality.

The dog world is full of folklore and myth which often leads to mistakes and poor decisions. In turn, the lack of reliable information influences decisions and beliefs. In my years as a breeder and professor I always looked for ways to put some wind at my back. At the University, my efforts would begin each semester during the first three days of classes. These days are called “Drop and Add”. For three days students can opt to drop a class and enroll in another. For many students these three days are strenuous, so I tried to help them make up their mind about my class. I began with the following phrase on the chalk board.

“Those who do not read have no advantage over those who can’t.”

It usually got their attention and they would begin to wonder about the amount of homework I would assign them. For others they discovered that getting up for an early class on cold mornings was not what they wanted, so they would drop the early class for another later in the day. To help my students decide about my class, I began with an explanation about grading their tests. I set the stage with a story about a class I took in graduate school. That professor told us on the first day of class that he would give us four tests; all would have 100 questions with multiple choice answers. Then he said, “If you get them all right, you get an ‘A’, if you miss one, you get a ‘B’, if you miss two, you get a ‘C’, if you miss more than that, an ‘F’. I decided to use a different approach. I tell my students there will be four tests, 100 questions each, all multiple choice questions, and that 50% of the test questions would come from their homework. Those who wanted to avoid homework would drop my class because they knew they could not pass the course without reading and doing the homework assignments. The phrase on the chalk board set the stage. I did all this because I knew that the little bit of time I had with my students each semester was not enough to teach them everything they needed to know about the subject. I tell this story in this article for the same reason. In the small amount of space allowed me for this subject, I cannot adequately cover this topic, therefore I offer the reader references where they can learn more. This is my way of putting some wind at their backs.

Short URL: https://caninechronicle.com/?p=87731

Posted by on Jun 20 2020. Filed under Current Articles, Editorial, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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