Yesterday, Berks County finally went to yellow status, so I was able to see clients in person for the first time since March. Unless you are a self-employed person, I think it’s hard to understand just how much impact a sudden and total shutdown of business can have. The economy isn’t just about huge corporations, in fact I’m fairly certain that all of them had lobbyists making sure that the shutdown didn’t affect them much at all. The economy also includes many individuals like myself whose lives and careers have been devastated by recent events. Many of us fell through the cracks of small business loans and unemployment and have been facing financial challenges along with the psychological fallout of being told how “non-essential” the industries are that we define our lives by. At least in my state, the definition of essential seemed to have a lot of do with the political influence of an industry and very little to do with actual essentialness or ability to provide social distance. (Don’t believe me? Golf courses have been open for a month and Walmart has done business as usual all along, but I faced prosecution if I even offered an outdoor private lesson.) Please keep all of this in mind if you are offended when a small business owner asks you to wear a mask or if you are tempted to accuse them of trying to kill your grandmother because they are reopening.

Anyway, while my “non-essential” industry (ever heard of guide dogs, service dogs, detection dogs, search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs…….) was closed, the Clever Hounds I did learn a few things.

  • Zoom works really well for many private lesson and group class topics. By pre-recording demo videos and using screen share, I can teach a lesson and then give students the chance to work on camera for feedback. I will definitely continue using this format going forward, especially for long distance clients.
  • Most students can learn to use Zoom effectively if they give it an honest try.
  • I’ve had the opportunity to build my library of demonstration videos and get better at editing. I have a plan for a fully online foundations class- stayed tune for more on this.
  • It’s a good idea to wear makeup and clothes that match when recording demo videos. I should also do something with my hair, but that’s still illegal.
  • A break from trials is a good time to address all of those little training projects that you never get to. Here’s a video of what the Clever Hounds learned this spring. Enjoy it and please share your lockdown training successes in the comments.