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Cabrito five months general training

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Here is an eleven minute training session of Brito from this morning.  You can see a variety of things.

Shaping with a dumbbell.  I normally hold it because he tends to put his feet on objects sitting on the floor.  That is not a habit that I want to encourage. ( First two minutes)

Heeling Skills.  In particular, I want Brito to learn to set up in position close to my body and under my hand.  I am not doing “choose to heel” type of work because walking close to my sides is not in his natural repetoire at this time.  (2 min to 4 min)

Front and recall skills.  In particular, I’m trying to click for forward motion towards me so he is not relying on my movement to come to front.  He’s starting to get it.  I take him through my legs to discourage him from backing away from me.   (4 min to 6 minutes).

Personal play without a toy.  Everything is “up” and into my space – Up to my face.  Up to my hands.  Up on my body.   (6 min to 7 min)

Toy and personal play.  Note that I tug him AWAY from my body.  This is to get him to come back to me with his toy, and you can see over the course of a minute exactly how effective this is. If you play tug with a dog pulling them towards you, then you encourage opposition reflex which sends them away from you when you let go.  In Brito’s case I’m working on getting a strong return with the toy, so I tug him away from me.  This works with larger dogs too but it is easier when they are still puppies or small in size. Eventually it is likely that he’ll return no matter what I do with the toy, simply because the game is fun for him.  (7 min to 9 min)

Dumbbell, a bit of reactivity, and the challenge of being a human parent while training dogs (9 min to the end).

There are also themes that you’ll see throughout.

I constantly encourage a heads up/body up position in his work. All of my petting and interaction encourage him to keep his head high and to stretch his body up to me.  Notice what I’m doing every time I say “up, up!”

I encourage a lot of physical interaction and play.  While I’m liberal with the cookie rewards, I also back them up with my personal approval and pride in his accomplishments.  There is no “pure” shaping going on here – it’s a package deal.

Brito stayed in the game for a long time!  The easiest way to get that is to change activities often enough that your trainee won’t get bored.

Brito is working on skill building in this session in this video.  Later today I’ll take him outside and work on playing in public – or at least my front yard.

Total training time per day is about twenty minutes but the quantity of interaction is a good deal more than that.  This is how I will build our relationship; spend lots of time together working, playing and simply existing.

On an unrelated note:  The book “Dog Sports Skills; Building Engagement and Relationship” will be featured on the yahoo group, “Dogread” November 16 through November 30th.  If you’d like to join Deb and I in a discussion of the book, then join the yahoo group, buy the book at, and join us!  Look forward to chatting with many of you there.

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

11 responses »

  1. Rox Welting Merryman

    Precious and I can tell you both love each other , which to me is far more important than any ribbon . You are great with your big dogs but I see something very special with this pup !

  2. LOL. Gonna need to get a smaller dumbbell!

  3. Sorry if this gets posted twice so I’ll say it another way… The evolution of his name is almost as impressive as the teamwork 😃

  4. I like how you’re training in an empty hallway, where it ups the chance that the pup finds you the most interesting thing there.

  5. Looking forward to your discussion on DogRead! Also enjoying Bridging the Gap (as a bronze)!

  6. Great video Denise, thank you for sharing it. Question – what kind of ‘clicker’ are you using that just has the one click sound instead of the typical 2 click sound.

  7. Love watching you work with a small dog. My dogs will always little guys, and it’s sometimes hard to translate when shown handling techniques with a large dog. I keep getting admonished: Stand UP! Good to see how you keep height and yet still interact with your little guy. And I love his new name. Perfect.

  8. I swear. Watching this video just makes me wanna cry. This lil guy needed a home and boy did he hit the jackpot. Just seeing how happy he is and how much you light up his world…it’s just so special. Great work for you both. I’m so looking forward to following this journey.

  9. Pingback: Weltweites Wissen - Welpen | Chakanyuka

  10. You probably don’t check this post still, but what is that tied to his tug toy? It sounds metal. Thanks!!


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