If “choice” and “consent” are the future, what might that look like when applied to dog training for dog sports?

The following videos show Brito choosing his motivators, choosing his work and Denise combining them in various forms for distraction training. But wait, there’s more!  Sometimes Brito is choosing and sometimes Denise. 

One of the coolest things is that Brito is not at all consistent about his choices. Some days he favors working on position changes or going around the cone for his choice of work and on another day he might favor his ball over a tug toy for the motivator.

But the coolest thing of all? He has a way to tell me. What I do with that information is up to me; it’s one of the benefits of being the human. I do care about his opinion, and I want to make sure he has ways of expressing those opinions that I can understand.

A special thank you to Leslie McDevitt for giving me the idea to teach Brito to choose his motivators and to Alla Podkopaeva for giving me the idea to let Brito choose his work as well.

There is no rhyme or reason to the following videos or the choices I made. I wasn’t trying to accomplish anything in particular, I was simply playing around with what is possible. Over time, I would imagine that patterns might develop, and then I might become more strategic about how I use that information with my training but for now, I’m training for understanding; to explore the possibilities.

Choosing his work:

Choosing motivators and adding work:

Alternating who chooses: