Learning How To Drive in NYC Feels Like A Flooding Process (Otherwise Titled: This Brooklyn Dog Trainer Is Having A Hard Time Learning How To Drive And Sympathizes With Both Her Human and Canine Students… Sigh!)

This post is more personal than usual. It’s about my own challenges… as a student. I guess you could say I play the role of the dog here. The tables have turned. I am the trainee taking lessons from others and I wish I was as comfortable with driving as I am with working with people and their dogs. I have been struggling with the road since early 2009 when we moved to Brooklyn and was given an old clunker by my aunt. The irony is that I’ve held a license for over 10 years and now own a car, but can hardly operate it without getting overwhelmed and frustrated. That’s because I, like many teenagers, got a license, and then being a native Manhattanite, never used it until I moved out to the boroughs.

I wish someone could clicker train me to drive! Sigh!

In this process, I’ve really learned to empathize with my clients. Boy, it can be really difficult to learn a new skill when the environment you are working in is so distracting. You can hardly be set up to succeed sometimes. I wish there was a shaping program out there designed for new drivers in New York City where every movement is methodically broken down and you build one skill on top of the other. Unfortunately, the program I’ve got to deal with seems more along the lines of flooding. Sink or swim, I have to get on the road, drive, and learn to maneuver my car through potholes, crazy taxi drivers, double parked cars, and people honking behind me to get me to move faster. It has been a tough ride so far. No pun intended.

The morals of this story: Learning can be hard for both canines and humans. Whenever possible, set your student up to succeed and build on small successes rather than throwing your student into the deep end. Have patience! Learning to drive in the boonies would be easier, just like working with a reactive dog would be easier in the suburbs. Practice, practice, practice. Breathe…

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2 thoughts on “Learning How To Drive in NYC Feels Like A Flooding Process (Otherwise Titled: This Brooklyn Dog Trainer Is Having A Hard Time Learning How To Drive And Sympathizes With Both Her Human and Canine Students… Sigh!)

  1. Oh my goodness!! I grew up in a small town in OK, so I learned how to drive in the boonies with practically no one else on the road. By the time I left home at 18, I still had barely driven on a freeway – and I moved to a large city with signs everywhere, and exit only lanes (or is it only exit???), and crazy highway entrance ramps that aren’t long enough – not to mention entirely too many people on the road. So, I think I can relate, somewhat, to what you’re experiencing. I hope you can get out to the boonies for a more relaxing driving lesson. I distinctly remember when I was learning to drive and asking my dad to turn on the radio for us. I couldn’t even take my hands off the wheel!! He started to, and then reconsidered and made me do it. Scary stuff!!

    If I lived in New York, I’d come clicker-train you, for sure. Maybe you can find a partner to help. However it works out, I wish you the best of luck!! (And, uh…wear your seatbelt, don’t talk on your cell phone, and ignore the meanies who are honking at you!)

  2. Pingback: I Am A Cross-Over Dog And I’m Ready To Be Clicker Trained (A Follow-Up On My Learning How To Drive) « Brooklyn Dog Training | Brooklyn Puppy Training | New York City Dog Training | New York City Puppy Training | Give Paw Dog Training

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