Pre-Engagement and Engagement webinars!

I’ll be teaching two webinars for Fenzi Dog Sports Academy (FDSA) on Thursday evening.  Consider these webinars if: Your dog struggles to engage with your training plans the second you step out of the house. Your dog struggles to maintain engagement if there is...

Food refusal for dog sports

One of the exercises in Ringsport is food refusal.  This was fun to teach!  We’re not done yet, but here’s our current progress with small slices of hot dog – next up will be bigger chunks: Here are the steps: 1.  A solid down stay. 2. Cue...

Concept (goals) or Criteria (process)?

The majority of behaviors that I teach are accomplished via reinforcing specific criteria. I know exactly how I want the dog to look at each step of the process as they move towards the final behavior. This is a process-driven approach. Other things I teach as...

What Happens If

A few years ago I had a student in a class who had spent a fair amount of time trying to teach her dog to pick up an object by shaping it. For various reasons she had not succeeded. Since the purpose of the class was not to teach the retrieve, nor was it to discuss...

Looking at the Fundamentals

What you see here in this video is the basis of all of my training; engagement, requesting work, and operating within a few very basic rules. First THE DOG starts the training session – this ensures that the dog recognizes that work is a privilege and neither a...

But…drills have a place too!

Here is another one-minute compilation of skills – I call these “Drills” because I probably did each of them a few times before moving on, they are super quick and fluid, and I am likely to reinforce close to every effort. This was pulled from a...

Foundation skills don’t need to be drills

This video is a one-minute compilation pulled from a 15-minute training session.  The entire session looked pretty much like this. There’s a little bit of verbal processing (see my recent blog) but mostly this session is following obvious body cues to build...

A fast paced game to increase “listening”

This is the doggy version of Simon Says – on speed.  We are working on position changes. This exercise will help with cue discrimination for AKC open obedience, the out of motion exercises for IPO, position changes for Mondio or French ring, etc. Games are my...

Position changes without forward motion

I’m working on Dice’s position changes and have been for a few months now. Getting consistent position changes without forward motion can be a challenge, especially in Mondio ring where the dog will be placed quite far away from me and distractions will be...

Dice – 9 months of age

I have good intentions to write regularly about Dice’s progress and then life happens. Anyway, here’s an unedited clip of Dice working at nine months of age.  If you’re working cue discrimination or drop on recall you’ll get some ideas here to...

Start of Drop on Recall

The drop on recall requires 1) a solid understanding of your drop cue and 2) the ability to process that cue in motion. You can do this at several levels of detail, depending on the needs of your dog.  To see this exercise broken down into tiny bits, most appropriate...

Eight month update

Dice is a pleasure to train.  I haven’t kept up as well here on my blog as I would have liked, but I am training daily and having a lot of fun doing it! Here’s our morning session.  What strikes me above all is the importance of keeping him in the game. ...

Dice is eight months old

I’m having a blast training this dog!  He’s full-on teenager right now and not the easiest to manage but he’s a hard worker and a whole lot of fun! Plus he’s handsome.  Here, you can see for yourself:  

Socialization in the world of COVID

With many of us staying home these days, many people have considered getting a puppy. Of course, the very first question that comes to mind is, “How will I socialize them?  Will they become shy or aggressive if they are unable to directly interact with strangers?” I...

Progress via complexity

I often talk about adding “complexity” to training.  When I say complexity, I mean adding something, anything, that is a little bit different or new than what you did the last time you worked with your dog. In heeling that could be going a few steps...

Personal Play with a mouthy dog

Dogs that love to work and to play tug (bite!) can be a challenge in the world of personal play.  The might enjoy the contact but they find the delay between the start of training and an opportunity to win a favored toy to be frustrating. This is no problem.  I still...

Mental Frameworks for training

When you’re working with a dog, you can start your approach with different mental frameworks, and any of them is likely to get you where you want to go. You can focus on the observable behavior, the emotions that underly that observable behavior, or the arousal...

Book resources for your pet dog

There is nothing like the excitement of adding a four-legged friend to your family. The anticipation of waiting for a new puppy from a breeder, or the first meet and greet with an adult dog from a local rescue are sure to bring joy to the entire family. You envision...

Cooperation and Control

Cooperation and Control Imagine This. A small child walks over and holds out his toy car for you to admire. You reach out, pick it up, and…. You put it in your pocket. How cooperative do you think that child is going to be with you in the future? We do things like...

Clarity within learning

Let’s consider the idea of Clarity within the teaching process itself – once learning has begun. If you think about it for a moment, true clarity, the dog being clear on what is required, is impossible with a trainee. If the dog knew what you wanted you...