Ep. 53: Helping Instructors Go Virtual

In this episode, we speak with Geryah Dingle of Dingle Days YouTube channel about her dog training journey, how she got started in Scent Work and the consulting services she offers to help dog training professionals bring their services into the virtual space.

If you are an instructor looking to create virtual training solutions for your clients, whether it be training videos, online classes or more, reach out to Geryah to see how she can help! With her experience with video, audio and editing, she can point you in the right direction or even partner with you to create quality solutions for your clients.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Dianna L. Santos:
Welcome to the All About Scent Work Podcast. In this podcast, we talk about all things scent work. That can include training tips, behind scenes look at what your instructor or trial official may be going through, and much more. In this episode, we're going to be speaking with Geryah Dingle of Dingle Days, a YouTube channel, and Dogs Are People Too Podcast, about her journey into scent work and how she leverages technology to help apply it.

Dianna L. Santos:
Before we start diving into the podcast episode itself, let me do a very quick introduction of myself. My name is Dianna Santos. I'm the owner and lead instructor of Scent Work University, Dog Sport University, and Pet Dog U. These are online dog training platforms that are designed to provide high quality dog training instruction to as many people as possible. And we're very fortunate to have a client base that's worldwide.

Dianna L. Santos:
Visit Scent Work University in particular. We provide online courses, seminars, webinars, and e-books that are all designed to help you achieve your dog training goals. So, whether that's just getting started in scent work, trying to build some more advanced skills, or getting ready for trial, we have a training solution for you. So, now that you know a little more about me, let step into the podcast episode itself.

Dianna L. Santos:
So, in this episode, I had the privilege of speaking with Geryah Dingle of Dingle Days YouTube channel and Dogs Are People Too Podcast. I found out about Geryah when she created a YouTube video that was talking about cyber scent work. And I was so impressed with the quality of this video that I had to reach out to her, first of all, to thank her for creating this really wonderful video and also just to learn more about her.

Dianna L. Santos:
So, in this episode, we're having a conversation with Geryah about her journey into learning about scent work, doing dog training, and then leveraging her expertise as far as using technology and leveraging all of that in order to help her clients, but also other dog training professionals. So, let's listen in on that conversation.

Geryah Dingle:
How I got started in dog training? I've always loved animals. All animals really, but a big dog fan. Growing up, we've had foster dogs and stuff like that. And then back in 2017, we got Disney, a large German Shepherd, a male, and he's awesome. And just based on the breed, I knew he was going to need his mind to be occupied. And after we got past the puppy phase and the basic level obedience one and two, whatever that means to you, I was like, "I really love what these dogs are capable of."

Geryah Dingle:
And then I don't even really know. I think I just ran across it on the internet. I think I was just like, "What are some other activities I can do with my dog?" And then scent work just sparked my interest, not necessarily on the professional side, but just something we could do as a family and stimulate him mentally and physically, because we're pretty active.

Geryah Dingle:
And then that's how I got into scent work. And then I learned it was like this whole community. And at the time, pre-COVID pandemic, it was bursting. It still is. And it's amazing that it's gone virtual, but I tried to sign up for some classes and they were all booked. So, you try to get into the competitions and it was hit or miss. It was just really growing that rapidly.

Geryah Dingle:
And I was like, "This is a real thing." So, we started playing around with scent work. At the time, it was like a Leerburg scent work kit just to work from home. And then late, we got with Teresa Hatcher and she makes this kit called NoseWork in a Box that's pretty awesome. We've been working with that. But regardless of where you get your scents from, just started working with him and I was amazed at how quickly he was able to just pick up the concept.

Geryah Dingle:
To the point now, it's just fun. I find some random object and I'm like, "Let's see if I can train him to go find this." And now that we've awakened his hunt drive, if you would, or his ability to sniff, now he just generally understands the concept. We just build value to whatever it is and then we can get him to go find it. And so now his vocabulary of scent, if you would, is growing. So, I just thought it was a really neat and interesting dog sport that stimulates my dog.

Dianna L. Santos:
That's awesome. And that's one of the great things about hearing how different people get into this activity is always so interesting to hear. And I love the fact that you recognize, "Okay, here's a breed who's going to need mental stimulation. We're doing the training. He's really smart. I'm still going to have to tap into something. What can I do? Oh, I know. Why don't we find out about this scent work thing?"

Dianna L. Santos:
And then as with many people, it sounds as though you got bit by the bug and were like, "This is really cool." And all the different things that you can do with your dog, which is awesome. So, that leads us into all the different videos that you've been putting out on your YouTube channel. So, can you talk a little bit about that, about how all that started, and then how it is that you started sharing your love of scent work and just dog training with people online?

Geryah Dingle:
Yeah, so like many people who get into YouTube, a lot of times, especially back in the day, now it's a little bit more organized. It's not like the wild, wild west. It's like milestones. But initially YouTube was all over the place. And like many, it was just to share what I was doing with my dog, with my family. It started really that basic.

Geryah Dingle:
And then I guess it gained some traction. We weren't really even consistent back then. It was like, "Here's what I'm doing with my dog on the weekend." And it was just easier to share than this large file in an email, right? Oh, here's the link, go check it out on YouTube. It's me and Disney doing whatever. And it was even more basic, like almost blog style. And we started, of course, with basic obedience, because if you can't get your dog to pay attention to you, don't expect anything else.

Geryah Dingle:
So, I knew that was really critical. But once we got past the basics, so we didn't start off in scent work, we started diving into it. And then I was amazed. It was actually in the process of moving and it was like one of the last videos. I don't know where it's at now. It's probably close to 50,000 views. How to get started in AKC scent work, teaching your dog the basics. Right? And I think it was just some ground up coffee beans inside of a mini Soho cup with some tape on top so he couldn't get at the actual beans.

Geryah Dingle:
And I was just showing him how to point to those and identify the scents. And that video blew up. And we're doing all these other videos. And keep in mind, I wasn't a YouTuber. This wasn't purposeful. It was just another video. It literally was the last video in this other house we ran and I hadn't even checked YouTube. It was like I put it up and then it was like when we unpack and I moved my stuff, and then I was like, "Oh, my gosh, why are people so into this?"

Geryah Dingle:
And at least the one thing I did know about YouTube is that you need to feed the algorithm. So, it's like, "All right, they're into this. Let's make another video similar to this." And PS, we were doing that anyway. So, it's never really been work for us, but we focused a little bit more on scent work just because I've noticed when I searched across... Because once we got into it, I was also personally looking for resources online.

Geryah Dingle:
But like I said, I ran into these hurdles actually trying to get into the neighborhood classes and they were full, or you try to enter a competition and it was like, "Yeah, maybe you'll get in and maybe you won't." So, I noticed the gap. There was a void there. At least initially. There's more folks now doing scent work, nose work, cyber scent work type things now, but I felt like a couple years ago that was few and far between. It's still not as prevalent as I would like it to be.

Geryah Dingle:
And so we're like, "We're going to provide that content, because we're doing it anyway." And it's really always been from the standpoint, "Hey, this is what I'm doing with my dog. These techniques have worked for us, but if you want to join us on this journey, why not?" And then from that, folks start reaching out and they're like, "Hey, I got this question." And I was like, "Well, hey, here's how I dealt with it. And these are the results that I was able to receive." And it just grew from there.

Geryah Dingle:
I've dubbed myself the K9 Scent Boss now as far as the challenges, because we have this plethora of scent work, nose work type videos. And not just from the perspective of a dog trainer, but also as just a dog mom. Right? Because some of the scent work, nose work videos that I did see out in the YouTube space, a lot of it was from the actual working dog perspective. And some folks may not ever want to take their dog to that level, to actually go and use their dog.

Geryah Dingle:
And all of those jobs are all very important, but I just wanted to show like, "Hey, I started exactly where you started, but this is the progress that you can make. Come along with us on the journey. And we'll document the steps." And not do just the steps, but some of the organizations out there to give you a few options. Maybe if this one's not available in your area, have you tried tapping into this?

Geryah Dingle:
So, we come at it from that angle and I think that what's differentiates the channel. And then we just happen to have different interests as well, because sometimes we dive into the technology side of it because I'm just really into that personally. I love all things gadgets, all things with signal flow inside of them, and then just photography, because I do that on the side as well.

Dianna L. Santos:
Maybe you want to just talk about that piece a little bit as far as helping people utilize technology as far as dog training is concerned. Because especially with COVID, so many of the dog training professionals have just been finding themselves thrust into this. Many of them unwillingly. So, they've been going along kicking and screaming, trying to figure out how they can do this. And even for dog owners who may not be able to do something in person anymore because of COVID restrictions, that they're like, "Okay, so now I'm supposed to somehow train my dog virtually with my trainer. How is that supposed to work?" So, could you maybe talk about how you were combining these two things already and the successes that you've been having with that?

Geryah Dingle:
Yeah, yeah. I seem to reference YouTube because I spent a lot of time there. I realize when I look at my phone and it was telling me that's where I was spending the majority of my app time. And I'm really into productivity and stuff like that. And how can we leverage technology to better improve the way we tackle dog training, right? I felt like the space itself has a lot of great professionals in it, but one of the things I help on the Clubhouse app is like, "Hey, this is how you can digitize your dog training business."

Geryah Dingle:
There's a lot of folks with the expertise, but not necessarily the experience, or whatever you want to call it, to move what they're doing in person to the online space, this e-commerce space, if you would. And like many things in business, you have to meet the audience where they are. Meet your customers where they are and they'll come. And some of us were forced into that like you said.

Geryah Dingle:
So, I started reviewing some of the dog training apps that were out there. Right? What's available. And there's a couple of videos on the YouTube channel with regard to that. And there's one coming up as well on some that shows just the flow of sit in the air, because a lot of folks try to explain it online, but there's actually some apps that actually will allow you to show what's in the area. Let's say like a wall, or something like that, and show what is the air flow actually doing and you can visualize that.

Geryah Dingle:
And so that's just another manner where for folks who are used to apps and leveraging technology, "Hey, you can actually use an app to show yourself this thing when you use it to hang a picture now, or something like that." There's stuff like that out there. There's other ones that just obviously help with the progression of puppy. I found that there's plenty of apps available to help with a young dog, or things like that.

Geryah Dingle:
And there's probably some people out there developing other technologies to help leverage scent work, nose work. And then I've seen a lot of folks who have dog training in person businesses and they're moving to more how do I virtualize this in different manners? So, they're taking their consulting side of what they do in dog training and allowing folks to either submit videos and evaluate them, or providing their own coursework online.

Geryah Dingle:
And so I've helped some businesses on the consulting side to make that actual technological transition, if you would. So, I call it my digital internship, because long term, I definitely would like to get into dog training in a more stationary space. Right now is something that I do on the side, but definitely learning and growing along the way.

Dianna L. Santos:
That's awesome. And the fact that last piece that you said that you're helping other dog trainers actually get to the point where they have their in-person training and you are helping consult with them on how they can then put that into a virtual space. Because that is something that I know many of our colleagues struggle with a lot. It's because when you're teaching an in-person class, you have to be pretty flexible, right?

Dianna L. Santos:
If you're dealing with six or eight or ten people, they're all going to be different. All the dogs are going to be different. You may have to change things on the fly. You may have a curriculum, you may have a plan, but the dogs and the people you have in front of you need something a little bit different. And trying to get it so that you can still have something that would apply to the large swath of people that you may have with a virtual thing, but it's still flexible, is really hard to do.

Dianna L. Santos:
And then also just wrangling with the technology piece of, as you know, audio and video is a nightmare if you don't know what you're doing. It took me almost two years to try to figure all this out so I'd be able to make something that was even somewhat usable. I can't even imagine if someone wasn't familiar with it just... They'd be ripping their hair out.

Dianna L. Santos:
So, the fact that you do this service is amazing. So, did you just want to talk about that piece a little bit? Because I'm sure there's a lot of trainers and instructors who are still trying to figure out how they can walk into that space and are a little worried, or a little scared, about it. And we have a lot of instructors who listen to our podcast. So, did you want to talk about that service a little bit?

Geryah Dingle:
Yeah. Yeah, sure. We have a website. It's dingledaysphotography.com. Because I started off as a videographer photographer, but I have a music background as well. And it's funny how all these kind of leverage, right? When you start talking about audio, visual, so it almost seemed like I was destined to be a YouTuber. Right? And I just love the productivity side of it and tinkering in general with online spaces and technology.

Geryah Dingle:
So, I love that, right? Those frustrations and why isn't this working? And I'm like, "It's somewhere in the flow. I'm going to figure it out." And it's like, "Eureka! We got this connected to this and that connected to this. This is the pieces that you need to put it all together. Here's a simpler setup. Hey, here's something a little bit more professional if you want to up your game a little bit."

Geryah Dingle:
And I think just the background within that... Some folks just reached out initially. Because it wasn't a service initially I was even offering. It was like, "Hey, I'll help you set up your livestream." I was helping a lot of folks during the pandemic, because everybody was trying to transition, regardless of the space. Just beyond from the video, audio side of things, "How do I go online with whatever X I'm doing?"

Geryah Dingle:
So, did that. And then some folks just started reaching out like, "Hey, I see your YouTube videos online." They started off a little rough. Like I said, they were just family videos. And then we started to take it a little more seriously. We upped the microphones, we upped the cameras, and we get the lighting, and different angles, and try to intermingle montages and stuff like that. And I love editing and doing fun stuff like that.

Geryah Dingle:
Only recently started working with a crew just because I tried to get a little bit more consistent online and push out more videos. But lately that has given me a lot of practice just online and being able to turn that around as well. Because a lot of folks too, they may be able to do it right. This isn't overly complicated. There's plenty of folks on YouTube, but there is a time, I guess you would say, opportunity cost for some folks.

Geryah Dingle:
And is that even worth it for them to spend their time doing that when they could just take their dog training expertise and leverage that out to someone else so that they can continue to grow and expand their presence online? So, yeah, feel free to reach out, or shoot me a note, and I would love to help folks bring and digitize the dog training space, because I just want to get the information out to everyone.

Dianna L. Santos:
And I hope that everyone really takes that to heart, because trust me, the fact that she said that she loves editing, you should jump on that ,because editing sucks. Editing is hard. Editing takes a lot of time. And just what you said, it's a valuable time thing of people who are doing dog training as a job. It is a hustle as you know.

Dianna L. Santos:
If you're trying to make a full time income based off of dog training, you are going 24/7 on this thing. And then trying to ask them, "Okay, well, now I want you to spend even five hours a week trying to figure out how to edit this one video and make this course." Or whatever the case may be. They're like, "Where am I supposed to get that time? I could have had five different privates, or whatever else, I could have helped pay for my rent, or something."

Dianna L. Santos:
So, the fact that you offer the service is absolutely incredible. And I can just tell you guys, the video that she had out for our new organization, Cyber Scent Work, is absolutely phenomenal, which is how we connected. I just happened to put in a Google search for cyber scent work, because it's new. I wanted to see who was talking about, or if anything came up, and up comes this YouTube video. I'm like, "I didn't post this."

Dianna L. Santos:
And so I look at it, I'm like, "Oh, my God, this is an amazing video. It's so succinct. It's so organized. It's wonderfully put together." I'm like, "This is incredible." So, I immediately messaged you. I'm like, "This is a really good video. Thank you so much." So, if anyone is interested in doing this, please make sure to check out her YouTube video and definitely hit her up in order to see whether or not she can help you with your own online training.

Dianna L. Santos:
Or even if you just have something you wanted to offer, maybe a package, or something else, where you're just like, "I don't know how to do this." Or it's just too scary. It's just too daunting. It may take too much time. This is what you guys should be doing, because this is where all your clientele are and it's such a wonderful way to really spread out the message. So, speaking of that, where have you found people are most taking in your information from your YouTube? Are there certain parts of the world, or the countries, that are really taking it in, or is it more of a worldwide reach?

Geryah Dingle:
I think it depends on what it is that we're talking about. Definitely folks international on the podcast, on the Dogs Are People Too Podcast that we have for our channel. We've reached as far as Australia. And that was more from some of our photography videos. But I've seen really just all across America just because it's virtual. There's just an interest. I would say it's more of a subject specific interest rather than like geographically located.

Geryah Dingle:
I think our community, it draws itself in. These are folks who are definitely into their dogs, because scent work, nose work, it takes a little bit of dedication to just do the initial build the value to order portion of scent work, right? Like this remote control, or this bottle, or whatever it is you want your dog to find, means nothing to them until you give value to it.

Geryah Dingle:
So, I think that's what's unique about our audience. It's that the circle that we've been able to build is a community of folks who are dedicated to both the physical and mental agility of their dogs. And because of that and the folks that comment on our channel, and reach out to us, we've been able to like, "Oh, and who else do you know in this space?" And then it's almost been word of mouth. We've worked with Family First K9, Jeremy McLaughlin, out of Kentucky.

Geryah Dingle:
And he's been able to be somewhat of a digital mentor to me as well, because he actually works with working dogs. He's going through right now how to build a series on how to build a scent work champion. And when I'm back in the AO, or the area where he is, I definitely want to swing through and just train that, or him, given some time. And we talked about that on the... He was our first guest on our podcast.

Geryah Dingle:
But it's allowed me to just meet so many different people. Like working with one person, Teresa Hatcher, she's not necessarily primarily in the scent work space. She also works with agility dogs. But with her kit, NoseWork in a Box, we've been able to reach out and like, "Hey, she hit me up with a Christmas card and everything." So, it's just been word of mouth and people seeing us on the YouTube space and like, "Hey, here's the impact you made."

Geryah Dingle:
It was a unique note. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing, but with regard to like the impact we made with helping her business as well through this pandemic and online, and everything, and just getting out there. So, those are the types of stories that keep you going with regard to, "Hey, here's this thing. I've been given this gift. Let me share that with these folks who really care about our animals."

Dianna L. Santos:
And that's amazing. And I really hope that you can really take to heart the fact that what you are doing is very valuable and for businesses to have this effect that you're giving them is such a big deal. I really just... I tip my hat to you, because first of all, this stuff is hard. Second of all, it's within this ocean of the entirety of the world and YouTube is a very large platform anyway. But for this community in particular, what it is that you're offering is amazing.

Dianna L. Santos:
And if we can just get more dogs sniffing, they'll be happier and you are helping achieve that. So, thank you. We really do appreciate it very much. Was there anything else that you wanted to let our listeners know about yourself, any upcoming projects that you have, where they may be able to find you, any of your future goals?

Geryah Dingle:
Yeah, definitely my future goals. It's going to be probably a couple years now before I'm able to do this full-time. I do some other things for my full-time. That'll be my primary focus for now. But the videos will keep coming with Disney and then hopefully to work with other dogs. In the background, we've been building out our online space and offering those consulting. And letting people know, right? Because people have really just reached out and it's to the point where I'm like, "Okay."

Geryah Dingle:
You don't want to build a product that people aren't asking for. At least I know that much right. But folks have reached out enough to say, "Hey, I'm going to offer this, but before we put it out there full fledge, just making sure that all of that is working and functional." But that is working in the background. But you heard it here first on the podcast that is that available if you know you need help digitizing your dog training business, or you have questions about how to bring what you're doing online, or just basic scent work, nose work from the perspective of somebody who's gone from the beginning with their dog in the amateur space.

Geryah Dingle:
And then hopefully one day to the professional space to do that. But there's some projects that we're working on that we can't speak about unfortunately, because those things are still in development. I would love to plug them, but you'll definitely hear about them on our YouTube channel, Dingle Days. And you can find us on our podcast as well, available wherever you listen, on the Dogs Are People Too Podcast, or check us out on dingledays,photography.com.

Dianna L. Santos:
Perfect. Well, I really want to thank you so much for spending this time with us. We'll make sure that we offer all of your links on our replay page and through our website, and also with our email that we send out to our clients. I really do want to thank you again. That video was amazing. Keep making such great, great videos that help not only dog trainers and their businesses, but their clients as well. Thanks so much.

Geryah Dingle:
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Dianna L. Santos:
I'm delighted that we had this conversation with Geryah. She has a lot to offer our community. In particular, I really do hope that my fellow colleagues who may be interested in going into the virtual space, even if it's just providing a simple tutorial video for their clients that they may be working with in person, will be interested in contacting Geryah to see what she may be able to offer them as far as putting together a variety of types of video tutorials, or other types of services.

Dianna L. Santos:
Again, her videos are very good. It's also exciting to hear someone else coming into the scent work community and that she is approaching this as someone who is training this with her own dog, and that she's having fun with the activity and trying to spread the word. The more the merrier. We want to have more dog sniffing. So, I really do want to thank Geryah for joining us for this podcast.

Dianna L. Santos:
We'll make sure that we have links for how you may be able to find her YouTube channel and more on our replay page. But we also want to hear from you. What types of topics would you be interested in us covering in our podcast? Make sure you provide a comment on our Facebook page, Scent Work University, where we will be posting this podcast episode. With any other topics you may be interested in, any questions you may have, we always want to hear from you. Thanks so much for listening. Happy training. We look forward to seeing you soon.