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Evaluating your training session

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I’m a pretty big fan of videotaping a portion of your training sessions so that you can use those tapes to help improve your training.

Here’s the first half of a training session for Brito; it’s about six minutes long:

First 1:05 I’m happy with his directed jumping – he appears comfortable with a send out of about 15 feet and he takes his directions consistently.

1:06 – He confuses my request for a glove retrieve with a foot target.  We work through it lightly but I need to revisit that issue.

2:10 Worked on a new type of leather articles and he makes no errors.

3:10 retrieve over high jump – returns around the jump when the dumbbell lands off center.

4:20 – a one minute stretch of formal heeling. He’s forging on left turns and some halts; also forging on the inside corner of the figure eight.

Obviously I could have stopped work and addressed the issues as they came up, but that wasn’t what I wanted to do for this session.  I just wanted to work on a variety of exercises and have some relaxed fun. “Flow” training.  See what we have.

After watching the tape, I see that I need to make a plan to address the three issues that emerged in the above session: 1. retrieve vs. target 2.  return around the high jump and 3. forging in heeling.

My next blog will address one of the issues.

In real life, I rarely sit down and “make a plan.” I’ve been training long enough that I normally have a good idea of how to approach a challenge with any given dog.  But if you are a more novice trainer, you might want to get in the habit of ignoring problems when they happen and just move on.  Evaluate your options later on when you have a little time to think it through.

If you have an opinion about which issue I discuss from the above three options, let me know in the comments!  I’ll pick one for my next training blog, based on your responses.

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.

10 responses »

  1. Any topic works for me but may I just say, what incredible progress with Brito! Not the same dog who made you hate squirrels so much two years ago. You are always inspiring.😊

  2. Retrieve vs. target please, Denise. I love this blog!

  3. Great job I love your training videos I wondered if you were training Lyra ? I never see videos of her and she may already have her OTCH Can I ask if you are showing her ? CD? CDX ? Thanks again Kim

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Oh I’m training her but I”m not preparing her for competition. I’m working on training without classic reinforcers – and experimenting with this and that. I’ll try to videotape her and make a blog in the near future.

      • Out of curiosity, did you decide not to compete with Lyra, or just are not preparing her at this time? Can’t wait for her video! And hmm, forging in heeling!

      • I have no idea. I don’t have the energy to work seriously with two dogs right now and I find Brito much more interesting at this time. That may or may not change.

  4. Forging in heeling, please

  5. Returning around the jump … Thanks

  6. Love your blogs Denise they are always inspiring so anything is good for me! Love the way you ignore errors and keep on training. I think this is something we can learn from as it makes for a more confident dog! Would love to see a blog about Lyra working without reinforcers!!

  7. We have retrieve issues, so return around the high jump would be great.


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