31 in 31 Starts Today!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The roll of 31 dog training tips in 31 days starts to march (pardon the pun) onto your computer today. I have programed the tips to be sent out at 12:35 AM each morning so if you have not gotten one this morning sign up again or check your spam filter.  I have been teaching in Wisconsin for the last 3 days. My dogs LOVE it! I have Encore and Feature with me . There is a 16′ x 34′ heated pool in this dog training facility (Think Pawsitive dog training) and my girls think it was put there just for them. When I recall Encore out of her crate to do a demo for me she turns the wrong way and looks hopefully towards the door to the pool before she comes back to work. I am now using the pool as a distraction for training while I am here, great fun. If you live in the area you will want to look this place up, it really is something very special.  A common theme that keeps popping up on my trip and that is one of chaining undesirable behaviour with reinforcement. It can handcuff a person, and they really don’t know what they should do, and I can see how it happens. Like for example the dog breaks their start line on a regular basis, the owner returns, re-sits the dog, leads out and then comes back to give a cookie. You think the dog is being rewarded for holding a sit the second time,  but with a consistent pattern developing the dog has learned– if I hold my sit, you keep leading out and I get nothing however if I break my sit you will come back closer and give me a cookie. This works particularly well for dogs that have less drive for agility. Dogs are so brilliant at picking up patterns of reinforcement. If I have said it once I have said it a hundred times “Dogs are far better at shaping people than most people are at shaping dogs!” 

There is a nice cross section of people, from Minnesota, Illinois and of course Wisconsin. Some familiar faces, some brand new. I love it. I get to see some massive improvements in handlers that I haven’t seen in a while, and at the same time see the brain explosions of the newbies experiencing the program for the first time! Everyone has been terrific, which makes my time away from home just fly by. 

Today I am grateful my dogs get so much indoor exercise while we are on the road.


One comment

  1. Thank you again Susan!! This weekend has been a mind expanding experience! I learned so much about how I have let my dog shape me and how I overly rely on luring! Silly me! I knew bits and pieces of information, but after spending three days with you, it all fits together and makes perfect sense now! I also loved watching how you respond (and don’t reinforce) dogs who leave the start line or their handler to go visit others. Wow! So simple, sound and effective!! Now that I am aware, I can work to replace my bad habits. I am grateful for having met you and I am ready to learn more!

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