Obedience Seminar

I just finished attending a big name obedience seminar on problem solving and I'm not quite sure what to say.  I definitely wasn't prepared.  I knew this wasn't a force free trainer but I also knew she was big into motivation and drive building so I guess I was thinking the corrections wouldn't be as frequent or as harsh.  I was wrong.

For the most part I saw dogs who didn't know how to win, not dogs who were lacking on effort.  I guess I didn't find it funny when a few of the dogs tried to avoid the situation by hiding behind mom or even running to their crate.  There were repeated comments about needing to release the pressure by doing fun tricks afterwards and putting dogs back in drive.  I guess that's good and all but I don't see why dogs need to be pushed so hard that they were in danger of shutting down.  There were several moments where dogs were repeatedly asked to a do a behavior over and over until they failed just so they could get a correction for lack of effort.  That Have To moment that supposedly is so important in obedience training.

It honestly was a great seminar though and I have quite a few ideas that should be easy enough to apply in a force free manner.  I'll just focus on building that Want.  In the presenter's defense, she did speak often of building that Want as a puppy so that you don't have as much shutdown with corrections in the future.
Seminars are so hard as you only get 10 minutes to spend evaluating a team and trying to show solutions that should takes weeks or months to implement.

Actually the most fascinating part for me was all the focus on cookies.  Cookies to keep the dog in drive, cookies as part of the correction process to lessen the defensiveness, and cookies to keep behavior's valued. I certainly wasn't expecting that.  Some of the methods were similar to what I've been doing with Vito in his training.  He's not ready to fully immerse into the get rid of all the cookies! plan I did with Lance this past year.  No cookies, no force, building the Want towards the joy of working just for me.  Vito's on a modified jackpot type of training plan, mixed in with a lot of personal play.

Anyway, here are some ideas I'm excited about trying, or re-visiting, with my crew:
- scooting back in a down and in a sit for our signals and drop on recalls.  Re-fixing it so Lance actually does it instead of just barking at me :) Vito actually has a decent version of both.
- doing multiple really fast spins with Lance to try and incite some forging in practice.   He actually doesn't forge very often in practice anymore (yay!!!) so it will be fun to try and get him really high and see if he can collect his brain.
- fronts after fast spins
- working on tiny fixes of fronts instead of bigger, easier ones: setting up a front, cuing wait, and stepping to the side only 2 inches in either direction instead of 12 inches before calling him to front again.
- Working on more moving tricks with Lance as I realized I generally don't do very many spins or touching while heeling due to his smaller size.

Jenna Z  – ( December 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM )  

Were you at Urbana? Or did Bridget do another recently somewhere else? I was only there Saturday with Dot but I found a lot of techniques we have started and having a ton of fun with them!

Ximena  – ( December 9, 2013 at 3:19 PM )  

I knew immediately about who you were talking about. I took quite a few tidbits from her DVD and turned them into R+. I, too, was shocked about the discussion/coverage of P+. It all sounded so positive until that moment, ya know. Elli's conditioned with a word to get her into work just like Bridget teaches, only she never fails lol.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( December 9, 2013 at 4:18 PM )  

Jenna, you're right but it was this past weekend in Minneapolis. I'm sure Saturday would have been better as the topic was on Motivational Techniques. Sunday was the Problem Solving day I attended.
It really was a good seminar though and I'm glad I attended. I just hadn't prepared myself for toe stomping and such.

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