Sleepless Near Seattle

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ok a the title is a bit lame I know, but I flew over 3,000 km to get to Vancouver, and being just over 3 hours from Seattle, I just had to do it. I have now finished two days of workshops here on the west coast of Canada and everyone has been terrific. Lots of laughing and lots of learning.  Sunday was another double box day but Saturday was Foundation Handling Skills. This is quickly getting to be my favourite workshop to teach. It is a new one for me, I taught it only once  previously in Minnesota and I will teach it once more while I am here in Vancouver. Basically it is foundation stuff I do with my own dogs but haven’t had time to teaching in my puppy or skills camps because there is sooo many other things to cover. Foundation Handling skills is made up of about fourteen different categories of skills that I further break down with 4 or 5 games in each category. Mostly they are games you can do with out agility equipment. Some may be anal, nit-picky stuff like observing the way your dog turns when he goes into his crate. Encore only ever turns right when she gets in her crate so when she is on my right side and turns right she is rehearsing a “flick away” from me every time. So she has rehearsed thousands of flick aways I am sure during her lifetime of play crate games or just being sent to a crate. Raising Feature I made sure she always turned towards me when entering her kennel. Does this mean Encore is more likely to flick on a course than Feature? I really don’t know, but if rehearsals make for perfect performances I would rather my dog not learn to “flick away” on me at any time. So that is one of about 50 tidbits I threw at all of them on Saturday. I did mention that that might be getting a bit too OCD for people, but the other 49 things definitely were worthwhile and pertinent to everyone.

Today is my day off. I am up in beautiful Whistler with me dogs. I am staying with friends and wow, is all I can say. Living here I think you would never get tired of being gratefully for just living here (I have got to get photos and then you will know what I am talking about:)).


  1. March Tip #23
    Comes at a great time as I am thinking of getting a head halter for my 5 month old puppy. I remember you recommending the Snoot Loop. Could you rate the Halti, Gentle Leader and Snoot Loop? Maybe post a little video of using the snoot loop for a correction? Also, besides online do any local stores in the Hamilton area carry it?

    • Hey Melissa, I am not a big fan of hte halti as they don’t fit many dogs well. Personally I have only used the Gentle Leader on my own dogs but the Snoot Loop is the favourite of our instructors and our students.

  2. Hi Susan,

    On the topic of foundation stuff, I have a friend whose puppy has fantastic tug drive. But she needs to teach the “out” cue to stop tugging. Everything I’ve read on teaching the “out” cue seems to use food to entice the dog to drop the toy. But this seems counter productive to using food to proof tugging? In addition, her dog might not stop tugging for food anyway. Any suggestions? Her hands are definitely taking a beating!


  3. You’re in my neck of the woods!

    I’m in Squamish and there are soooo many trails with views that make your heart stop from the shear beauty.

    One of my favourite trails is off the hwy which would be back on your way to Vancouver called Cheakamus Canyon. http://www.trailpeak.com/trail-Cheakamus-Canyon-near-Squamish-BC-2475The

    It’s a short but breathtaking to say the least.

    I attended your Handling foundations…with absolutely no previous training other than a couple of lure based confusing agility classes ( I quit and started searching for something that makes sense. I found the Pawsitive steps outreach Novice, yay! ) watching the first Greg Darrett dvd, which was recommended in your one jump video, and I now feel empowered.

    I have in the past felt overwhelmed after seminars, you go over so much information your head feels like it’s about to explode but after Saturday’s workshop I feel empowered.

    The games will be invaluable, the method in which they progress will be a no brainer for me or my crazy Aussie to advance and eventually try these out in a ring and best of all, you gave me the tools to understand criteria, and problem solve when things go sideways and figure out where ie. where the imbalance lies.

    I can’t wait till Advances in Dog training……….only I hope someone will let me know where it is. It’s not on the site 😦

    • Hey Kate

      I am glad you enjoyed the Handling Foundation Workshop. Hope you got Lynda O-H’s directions to Advances in Dog Training. I promise it will be just as empowering! BTW we did hike Cheakamus trial, but up closer to Whistler. Did it on the way back to Vancouver (dogs got 2 big mountain hikes in the same day!)

  4. I think Susan’s enjoying her day off…so I will try and answer a few of these questions for her!

    Kate – visit http://www.clickerdogs.com/vancouver.php for the details of the workshops Susan’s doing in Vancouver the locations and details are mid page in PDF/Word format.

    JoAnna – Susan covers teaching “out” in Ruff Love – its a trained behaviour that is highly reinforced (either by a food reward – or the toy given back) …and continually reinforced – so many people stop rewarding the dog for their “outs” and eventually – it goes away! The Its Yer Choice games we play – aren’t really affected because “out” is a command and without hearing it the dog should continue tugging…the presence of food does not mean quit tugging (we just need our food crazy dogs of that!)

    Melissa – Snoot loops are available at our store at SY in Ancaster or bought online. All the head halters Susan recommends are used in the same way for controlling reinforcement and is outlined in both Ruff Love and Appendix A in Shaping Success.

    Hope that helps everyone!

  5. When you say watching what way your dog turns when they go into their crate……Would you take this to mean that your dog has a preference like being left or right handed and therefore if they turn right when they go into the crate that right turns are easier for them over left turns. And so you could use this information for determining the best way to turn your dog around if/when needed on course…..but also to know that the opposite side could be weaker and therefore the side to work on to balance out their turning skills?

    • No I am not suggesting a correlation between the turn into the crate and turning on course, only that if the dog is on my right and turns right when she gets in the crate she is “flicking away”H

  6. I attended the Handling Foundation Workshop on Saturday, and will add it was absolutely the very best seminar I have ever attended !!
    It was a total blast, and from 9-5 it was choc-a-bloc full of Great handling exercises, and problem solving tips, and ways to create drive and maintain it, plus so much more !
    Having never attended a SG seminar, I didn’t know what to expect, and can only say to anyone reading….. GO !!!
    She is allot of fun, brilliant at teaching and handling, and will totally make every minute worth your wild !! ( or is it wile ?) I am already saving my pennies , nickels, AND dimes, to go to the very next one I can..
    Kate, are you trying to make me jealous ? (advances in dog training ) ? LOL
    Stella (my pooch ) had as much fun as I did, and that say’s it all !!!!!
    Thanks Susan !! YOU ROCK !!!!!!

  7. ok…so this isn’t about sleepless in seattle. but..i was at an appt with my husband the other day, and his doctor had a sign posted about latex allergies, relating to surgery. the sign also said…something like…in addition to latex, have you ever had an allergic reaction to: bananas, kiwi, avacado, chestnuts. i should hav asked, but assumed that maybe people with latex allergies also had problems with these particular food items. or maybe they are just common allergens. susan, if you are sensitive to latex, you may want to pay attention when you eat these other foods.

    • Hmm, I have heard about the kiwi and pineapple connection but PLEASE don’t be messin’ with my beloved avacodos!

  8. Would love to see those 50 tidbits in some daily e-mails for those of us who can’t make it to any foundations seminars! What do you think? I am really enjoying the daily tips.

  9. Teresa,

    I just got to take Monday off work….so not only am I going to the Advances…I’m hoping to sign up to Observe the Puppy Foundations too!!!!!

    Whooooo hoooo!!!!


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