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Javelin and I got up very early this morning to be out on the road around 5:30 to get to New Jersey for a four day workshop at Top Dog Obedience School. Top Dog Obedience School

We go to matches at this facility, so it is not an alien place for Javelin or Lily. I think that made the first day of being there much more manageable. I am very psyched that I finally have won my battle with Javelin regarding crates. I was able to eat lunch while glancing at his crate without seeing it bouncing across the floor or rolling over and I heard no barking. If nothing else good happened all weekend then this workshop would still be worth its weight in gold.

A week or so ago I got a survey asking about what activities I wanted to work on and the four days have been organized in the order of most requested exercises first. Today we had instruction and games on attention and focus, fronts and figure eights. Despite a very exciting setting (nearly 30 dogs and handlers, including two in season bitches) Javelin did pretty well with these exercises and I attribute his success to all of the hours worth of time we have already spent on foundational attention.

In addition to the five cookies attention at heel and with me games that I have often used and described in Javelin's training blog we did attention games where the dog was asked to provide eyes up attention at different positions: sit at heel, sit at distance, down at heel, stand at heel and down and stand also at distance.

I am taking copious notes and will go through them and add more details when all is said and done, but in the meantime I will talk briefly about each day as we go along so I have an organizational scheme for readers to follow along with.

Javelin is currently out cold, so I think he did so much thinking that his brain is hurting. I would do some practice, but I am not sure that it would be fair to make him work right now. I am going to go pick up something for my dinner and feed him when I eat. If he wakes up and seems like he is willing I will do a bit of work with him, but we do also have to get up sort of early again for the next three days.
 

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I wish we had a facility like this close to us but sadly we don't. It is hard to find a good open space that is also indoors. It is very hot in FL this time of the year. I train Lucky at the Home Depot or the hallway of my home. There is one school like Top Dog here but they require you to take all of their courses starting with the puppy/ beginner class and it is quite expensive to run through everything. I do appreciate the fact that we have our AKC training club pretty close to our home and we meet our private instructor every other week. I really do wish there was an all in one large training school that does everything. I have been working pretty hard with Kit lately on passing the CGC and she is easier to train in public and in strange locations. She will likely do much better with public access than Lucky because I've never seen her afraid of anything so there is less time spent on counter conditioning.
 

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Sounds like a wonderful workshop - hope Javelin wakes up in time for dinner!
Javelin never misses his dinner, or for that matter a shot at stealing Lily's either! He ate well despite all that he got fed during the day that he normally doesn't have.

snow if you have a not for profit obedience club then you have one of the generally better kinds of training resources there is. The interests of the people who are members and instructors in those clubs aren't motivated by money over dogs.
 

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lily cd re - I really look forward to hearing the details of this workshop. Are all 30 dogs in the ring and working the exercises together? I can't imagine working with that many dogs. Or have they broken you up into smaller groups?

snow0160 - I envy you having an AKC club nearby - I'm driving an hour to the ones I go to.
 

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Skylar we are divided into separate working groups and for a couple of things we have worked just one or two dogs at a time. For example this afternoon we took individual turns working on the retrieve on the flat and the work was tailored to the level that each dog was at.

Today we worked on getting good drops and were shown ways to work the drop outside the context of the recall. The games we worked on would be easily done while still getting ready for novice. Many people don't like to teach drops before they have finished the CD, but then you end up stuck waiting to get it in shape for open and have a gap in trialing readiness. The other problem that I now appreciate because of how hard Lily and I are struggling with utility is that you should teach signals long before you are trying to get into the ring.

The morning was all work on drops and the afternoon was all work on the dumbbell. I definitely feel like I have a better handle on how to proceed with both of those exercises now. It is especially important to get back on track with the retrieving since until the dumbbell is good, my private trainer doesn't want us to work on the gloves or articles. As I said yesterday I will go through my notes after I get home and describe specific techniques and tips after I have processed them. My head is very full of new information that I don't have total ownership of yet.

Javelin did well with the crate again during the lunch break and even when I didn't leave him alone there he was happy to settle in it with the flap open right next to my chair. He has been great around all but one of the other dogs, a border terrier who must be giving a bit of a weird vibe and seems like a nervous little dog. He had a really tough time and kept shutting down during the dumbbell work. Javelin took a small lunge towards him when we passed them in the morning and then charged out of his crate when they walked by in the afternoon. I apologized as sincerely as I could, but I think the handler has decided she doesn't like us and/or that I am unconcerned (which couldn't be further from the truth). After that I stayed totally on top of every glance that Javelin gave to any nearby dog. I believe he has gotten the message.

We had almost the whole group go out for an early dinner this evening at a lovely restaurant. We had lively and interesting conversation about teaching training classes at the end of the table where I sat since five of the seven of us there all either teach at a club and/or do private training.
 

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Here are a couple of pictures from yesterday and today. Given how many dogs are close by, he is doing really well (aside from the border terrier).

Javvvy crate 3.jpg

Happy boy.jpg

Javvy crate 2.jpg

Javvy crate 1.jpg
 

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Javelin is looking happy to be there with you. I can't wait to hear all the details. I wouldn't worry about the border terrier. I bet she had similar responses from other dogs too. It is embarrassing though when you want your dog to remain nicely settled and non-reactive 100% of the time.

I realize too that you're swamped with a lot of new information that you need time to process it.

We're also working on the drop and doing all kinds of things that will help when we put the pieces together but I'm staying far away from teaching her to drop in the middle of a recall. It just makes so much more sense this way, at least to me. Same with dumbbell. She does everything great except she needs to jump 16" and we're still at 8". And she's not good with the hold before she hands it to me so we're working on hold separately too. I'm reluctant to use the latest reincarnation of the forced return training. This way I have plenty of time to train a better hold and move the jump up and get the drop on recall together. I can't imagine teaching only one level at a time.

I've also seen that warning not to train articles until you have the dumbbell. But other people say go ahead. In the meantime we've been working on the send out.
 

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Javelin looks so happy in those photos! I really love all the obedience threads. It inspires me to do more with my dogs, which has been paying off lately. Training two dogs at the same time is a lot more work than I had thought. I take Kit to private lessons and CGC class and then drive 2.5 hours for Lucky's agility class. To be honest, most of our training is done at home and it is a rinse and repeat process in short intervals like conditioning at the gym. This gives me greater appreciation for all the things my parents did for me.
 

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Skylar we are learning tons of useful stuff that I will share with you as soon as I can process through it. Today we worked on aspects of teaching the various parts of directed jumping (including go outs) and scent articles.

In the morning we used cookies to send the dogs over the high jump and then worked at making sure they came back over the jump in the fashion that will be needed for the open retrieve over the jump, but also will be useful for utility jumping in making the dog understand that their path to you has to go over the jump. I think that what we did today will be helpful already with the issues I've been having with Javelin wanting to go around the broad jump.

After the jump work was done we had a very good explanation and one team as a demo team for the around the clock method for teaching the scent articles. Look it up and you will find written descriptions along with videos. If you add the name Janice DeMello to your search it might help. I did not do this with Lily, but I will do it with Javelin. I can see that it will work very well.

The people running this clinic always use cookies as part of teaching the go out. I started Lily this way several different times and was never able to have her think that go out was about anything other than looking for cheese, so I have not been using it in teaching Javelin, who does actually already have better go outs than Lily, so I opted out of working their method for starting go outs, but did find it interesting to watch and took notes so that I have the method in my tool box even if I don't use it myself.

A useful thing we did related to the turn and sit part of the go out was an activity using broad jump boards to make a chute to promote tight spins into the sit. I worked on this with Javelin and even though he already has the foundations of a good turn and sit I think this will improve them. You use a six foot leash and a cookie held above the dog's head. If your dog turns to the right to sit, hold the leash and the cookie in your right hand but start with the dog on your left. Send them into the chute and get them ahead of you. Say the dog's name and as you do that lure them to turn and as they do so tell them to sit. Make sure the dog does not move forward towards you in the chute by keeping your right arm out in front of you and the cookie above the dog's head. When they sit, deliver the cookie with them as far away from you as possible to discourage the dog from thinking they should come to front.

Sometime this morning I was getting ready to take Javelin outside to potty. I saw the border terrier lady coming in with her dog. I moved Javelin quickly to my right side and made him sit under the table we were walking past. She saw us and out loud said "oh s&*t" and turned around and disappeared behind a corner as she picked her dog up. I stood there for a few seconds and when she showed no signs of reappearing I called out and said I was waiting for her to pass by. She sneered at us as she carried her dog by. What an idiot! Clearly even yesterday she had many chances to see that I was working to keep Javelin away from having a chance to even notice her dog. Payback came at lunch time. I sat down at a table with one person who indicated that she was saving a couple of seats for friends. I said no problem that I was happy to dine with anyone and guess who one of her friends was? I was sitting at the end of the table and one of the saved chairs was to my right. This lady sat there I think before she realized who I was. She actually moved her chair away from me several times while we were all there. I just ate and talked a bit with the woman who I originally sat with, ignoring all the drama from the other person. Sometimes it is better to kill bad chemistry with neutrality or kindness than confrontation. I don't recognize any of the three people in this little group of friends, so it seems unlikely I will encounter them very often in the future.

snow I wish more people would do more with their dogs. Exercising the brain of a dog does much more to make them contented than running around like a lunatic with them. Javelin is out cold here in the hotel and he really did not do a lot of physical exercise (as evidence by my fitbit telling me I have only taken 2.7K steps today), but he did tons of thinking.

One other really good opportunity we had today was to have a really good measurement for his dumbbell done. I don't like any of the dumbbells I have for him at this point. One has a good length and diameter on the bit, but the bells are too small and another has a bit that is way too long. Now I can order a new dumbbell (or maybe two) with confidence and possibly a set of leather articles since I am not sure that the ones I was planning to start him with will be good either.

After lunch and before we started working
 

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We got home about an hour ago and I thought I would check in while we are waiting for our Japanese food to arrive (no way was I going to cook tonight). This was a great great weekend. Today we worked on heeling with distractions, signals, moving stand, gloves and the broad jump. We covered all of the exercises of open and utility in depth in four days. I have a ton of notes to go through and get organized to share as much as I can with you in the next week or so. then it will be time to turn around, repack the truck and hit the road with Lily for the advanced version of this workshop.

That's all for now since dinner will be here soon and then I am going to join Javelin in hitting the hay. He is exhausted and I am pretty sure his little brain hurts big time.

BF survived dealing with the chickens and Lily and Peeves were both happy to see us when we got here. My teenagers now really look like pullets and they are starting their first soft molt to get rid of feathers that will soon be way too small for their growing bodies. My littles are starting to look like teenagers and this week in addition to processing my notes from the clinic I will be getting Phoebe, Hannah and Miriam integrated with Sarah, Rachel and Ruth in the big house. I will also start taking the littles outside during the day when I can watch them.

Have a good night everyone!
 

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Formal Notes, Part 1

I started reviewing my notes now that I have finished the grades for my second summer session class.

It is going to take time to get all of it converted into presentable form, but here is the first installment.

Day 1 Introduction


Attention Exercises should start every training session.

Be consistent with a Three Word Marker System as follows:
“YES” ends the exercise and means you did a great job, here’s your reward (cookie or play);
“GOOD” means you are doing a nice job but keep going, no reward just yet as a useful way to chain together the smaller parts of complex exercises; and
“NO (uh oh or oopsie)” tells the dog this was wrong, it is important to mark mistakes consistently so that dog gets an understanding that if you don’t say anything the behavior was correct.

After a mistake release the dog and then work to help the dog to be correct several times then play and go back to the exercise where the mistake first happened with the original set up. Be careful not to reward responses to corrections.

Don’t put too much stock in the concept of “ending on a happy note.” If the dog has given a series of incorrect responses followed by one correct behavior it is much more likely that if you stop after that one good response the dog will remember the incorrect behavior more strongly than the correct response. Make sure you get several correct responses before stopping work on that exercise. Making sure the dog gives many correct responses builds the dog’s confidence.

In trialing, the biggest mistake most people make (especially for utility) is entering too soon. To assess whether dog is ready for trials make sure they can do qualifying performances in matches treated like trials at several different locations. Once they can do this they are telling you they really understand everything, feel confident and are ready to do the work in trials.

Three Attention Activities: stationary attention; moving watch/with me and formal attentions with corrections (at heel with distractions—step away).

1. Stationary Attention: the five cookie exercise as I have described elsewhere; but briefly here: have 5 small cookies in your left hand and have dog sit at heel, show first cookie above their nose without letting them nibble, dog should look up and make eye contact for 3 seconds without looking away. Feed first cookie and show the 2nd one while making sure the dog keep her head up and maintains eye contact. Repeat until you give the fifth cookie at which time you will release the dog to a jump up or a toy. As the dog gains profieciency ask for longer eye contact before feeding and add distractions.
2. Moving Watch/With Me: put a cookie on the dog’s nose when they are facing you and back away from them. Feed the dog as they follow you and maintain eye contact. Add distractions. Once they are always moving with you, fade the food and replace with a release to play.
3. Step Away** from heel for formal attention: have dog at heel and moving. Dog should maintain heads up eye contact. Have distractions around (ideally a person, but if you are working alone toys or food or even bits of tissue on the floor, chalk marks, etc). If dog takes to the distraction, step away from the dog far enough that they feel a small leash/collar correction and return to heel.

**Teaching Step Away Correction: Have dog sitting at heel and have a toy of food in your right hand. Step away from the dog to your right and use the toy or cookie to lure the dog to reconnect to you. Once this has been taught you can use it for any time the dog should be giving head’s up attention and turns their head to look away. If the dog gives an eye flick towards a distraction just give their attention order (look, watch me, eyes up or whatever works for you).

In terms of distractions remember that at trials the two major distractions will be other dogs and pressure from judges so in training other dogs and people in the position of the judge are very important. Working on attention is a process that should be continuous through the life of the dog. Don’t expect your dog to attend to you if you don’t attend to your dog. If you want the dog to be at attention make sure you keep up your end. If you are in a class, match or trial don’t look at your instructor or judge. Listen and nod or talk to indicate your readiness or understanding. If you need to really watch your instructor in class then put your dog on a relaxed down stay to tell them they are off duty and do not have to attend to you just now.
 

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Formal Notes, Part 2

DISTANCE ATTENTION

Keeping the dog’s attention while they are not close to you is essential for the drop on recall, utility signals, moving stand and for the turn and sit at the go out. Use games as much as possible for distance attention. Work on attention at distance with the dog in all positions (sit, down and stand). Install wait as a command for stay her in this position and watch me until I tell you something else to be able to do games for attention at distance. Start close to dog and add distance as they get better. Make sure dog pays attention all the time. Don’t use a “no” verbal for lack of attention or it will become a cue to pay attention and the dog will be less likely to attend continuously. Give a correction (physical) and then continue the work in a way that will make the dog successful (reduce distance to dog, reduce level of distractions).

Even for the novice stand it is important to work on the attention of the dog since it provides an extra opportunity to use it in the ring.

Distance Attention Games: Use a flexi leash for all of these activities. Work to keep the dog guessing about when the reward will come and they will learn to always be watching you.
1. With the dog on a flexi leash leave the dog on a sit, stand or down wait and walk away they way you would for a group stay or a recall (move with purpose and your back to the dog. At varying distances release dog with a “yes” as you throw a cookie ahead of you without turning towards the dog. Make sure dog sees the cookie and moves quickly to get it. Once they are eating and just about finished call their name and get them to move towards you. Ask for a jump up or play with a toy to celebrate before doing the game again.
2. Set up as above and walk away but now turn and face the dog before releasing the dog with a “yes” and a tossed cookie (vary where you throw the cookie). Once the dog is about to finish the food use the dog’s name to reorient him towards you and finish with a celebration as he returns as above.
3. Set up as above and walk away. Turn and face the dog and recall them to you with a “yes” and a cookie tossed between your feet or otherwise just behind you.
4. Vary the pattern of the above games as much as possible by rotating through leaving the dog at a sit, stand or down; showing a different picture in terms of what you do after you leave; where you throw the cookie and what the end of the game is (jump up, toss a toy, play tug or give another cookie).
 

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TEACHING FRONTS

The goal is to have a tuck sit and the dog keeping its head up.

Use a food lure held directly in front of the center of your body (think about holding it in both hands). Do not keep food in your pocket, but instead hold it in your mouth and deliver it from your mouth by hand or by spitting it.

Hold a short leash in your right hand with it coming under the dog’s chin from the collar and keep your left hand (palm down) under the dog’s chin to help her keep her head up and maintaining eye contact.

Start by backing away from the dog to bring him to front and tell him to sit. Once the dog can front well this way stop moving away from the dog. Sit the dog at arm’s length in front you and show a cookie right above their nose and move the cookie towards your body (on center) still with the leash up under the dog’s chin to keep their head up in conjunction with the cookie. Then set the dog up in front of you on a sit and hold the cookie at center against your body and tell the dog to come to front. This makes your body the target for the dog to front to and they will come in close and tuck.

Make sure you help the dog to be correctly centered straight at front and close in without you moving to adjust to what the dog has done.

As you are ready to add distance for the call to front, use broad jump boards to make a chute that will keep the dog straight as they come to you. Use a long leash or flexi (better) to keep the dog moving through the chute and sitting directly in front of you. As the dog becomes proficient at coming straight to front introduce full distance recalls and off center recalls to proof the dog’s understanding of the straight front.

To maintain good straight fronts you can use “flippers,” little finger flicks to get the dog to adjust as they come in. For example if you see that the dog will be crooked to your right use your left hand held at your side to point the dog to move to the left. Do the opposite if the dog will be crooked on your left. If the dog is coming straight, but off center of your body (e.g. will be straight in front of your right leg) put your hand out on the off center side to get the dog to adjust to center. So if the dog was coming to the right put your right hand out in front of your right leg (keep your hand low) to make the dog move to the left and closer to center.

If you like tools for your training you can buy (or make) front sticks that can be used like extensions of your arms to give the dog a runway for his approach. I bought the sticks that the facility running the workshop sells. They are Lucite plastic rods about three feet in length and have slip rings put through a hole drilled near one end. The slip rings would let you hook the sticks to something else if you wanted to use them a different way (e.g. for go outs). Pictures of the sticks showing how long they are and the slip rings are attached. They are leaning against my kitchen base cabinets for scale.



front sticks.jpg

front stick detail.jpg
 

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FIGURE EIGHT

Start by practicing your heeling without your dog. Make your footwork very consistent. Break down the complete figure eight into its component parts. It is two semicircles connected by two short straights with two right turns (with dog on outside) and two left turns (with dog on inside). Help cue the dog by pointing your toes into the turning of the semicircles and the turns at the point you enter the straights. Keep your number of steps on the semicircles consistent at six steps adjusting lengths of steps slightly if needed but keeping very consistent pace. Remember you are supposed to maintain your pace and the goal is to have the dog adjust their pace to remain in proper heel position whether they are on the inside (going slower) or the outside going faster.

To start with dog, set up two sets of six cones in circle pattern with about five feet in between each circle. Heel onto the first circle going around to the right with the dog on the outside. Leave that circle and enter the second circle going to the left with the dog on the inside. While doing this practice make sure the dog stays in proper position and keeps heads up. Once the dog is good at the circles then do large figure eights (start 12’ between posts). Once the big figure eights are great then make them 10 feet on center before moving to the regular figure eight size of eight feet between the posts.

I will attach photos of my drawings of the set up for the cone circles and the correct final scheme for the figure eight.

As a side note everything I’ve explained up to now was on the first day of the workshop! No wonder both Javelin and I slept like the dead each night. We worked really hard every day.


Cone circles.jpg


figure eight break down.jpg
 

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Day 2

DROPS FOR RECALLS AND UTILITY SIGNALS

The goal is to have the dog go from moving forward on a recall or from a stationary stand to a full down with a flat top line drop or putting their front end down first then dropping their hind quarters. If the dog goes down at the back end first you may end up with the dog frequently getting stuck at a sit rather than having a drop.

Keep in mind that if you get 2 or more incorrect responses without fixing the mistake then the incorrect behavior is what the dog is being learned. Repeating the mistake allows the dog to learn the mistake.

Don’t wait until after titling in novice to start teaching the drop. Just teach it outside the context of recalls.

The teaching of this behavior should be broken into many small increments. Do not skip any steps. If you move ahead and get consistently poor responses go back to the previous step and make sure the dog really understands that part before going forward again.

DO STEPS 1 – 3 KNEELING AT THE DOG’S RIGHT SIDE FACING THE DOG.

1. Using a cookie held in your right hand and on the dog’s nose and with your left hand under the dog’s belly lure the front end of the dog down with elbows on the floor. Then move your left hand to be above the dog’s shoulders. Don’t apply heavy pressure with your left or you will generate oppositional reflex. Use your left hand to guide the hind quarters to the down.
2. Hold the leash close to the snap in your right hand under the dog’s neck. Give a downward pop on the leash to start moving the dog to the down. Give a cookie after the dog has completely dropped. This is the start towards getting the cookie out of your hand and not luring for the drop.
3. Once the dog understands the down pop use it to start the dog to the drop. The dog will indicate its real understanding of the set up by starting to drop before you start to pop the leash. Give the cookie from your mouth once the dog is completely down.

MOVE TO KNEELING IN FRONT OF THE DOG FOR THE NEXT STEP

4. Now add the signal. Kneel in front of the dog with the dog on a stand. Keep your left hand on the leash near the snap and collar to be able to give a down pop at the same time you give the signal (think school crossing guard stop signal) and say the word you use (down or drop).

NOW MOVE TO STANDING IN FRONT OF THE DOG

5. Repeat step four but stand in front of the dog.

IF THE DOG STARTS TO ANTICIPATE THE DROP THEN BE SURE TO REWARD THE PREVIOUS CORRECT BEHAVIOR (IN THIS CASE THE STAND).

NOW ADD MOTION TO THE EXERCISE

6. With the dog at your left side, hold the leash loosely with your left hand on it low, closer to snap and collar and the loop end of the leash in your right hand. Take a step or two forward and then turn and stand yourself into the dog’s path at the same time giving the signal and a down pop on the collar. This will help the dog to understand that the signal means they are to stop forward motion.
7. Install a negative reinforcer to use for failures to drop at distance. Do this in one or if needed two sessions. Most dogs will get it in one session though. As you are giving the drop signal you will drop a small beanbag onto the top of the dog’s head. You will look for the dog to give a mildly offended/aversive response to the beanbag falling on their head in association with the behavior of dropping. Now you will be able to use the beanbag at the time you give the signal if you don’t get the correct response (slow drop, incomplete drop). Your decision to give the correction has to be fast (just as you finish showing your signal, timing is critical). Later you should keep the beanbag in your right hand to be ready to use any time. It can be used from distance to give a correction for failure to do the drop in the utility signals.
8. Now start to work on speed for the drop on recall by doing a fast pace with the dog at heel and turning in front to drop them. Do on a six foot leash still.
9. Now make the drop a moving drop while you move backwards away from the dog facing them. Do on a six foot leash so a quick correction can be given if the dog is slow or otherwise incorrect. Use beanbag if needed.
10. Switch to a flexi leash to add distance. Gradually move further and further from the dog. You will still face the dog and back away as you call dog and then give signal. Always keep the beanbag in your signal hand ready to use if needed. If you have to take the time to take the beanbag out of your pocket you correction will be way too late and therefore meaningless.
11. Add drops into your “get it, get it” game (if you are not familiar with this game look at my Javelin’s road to ring ready thread). When you start give your signal, a verbal order and take a step towards the dog to help them to be successful since adding the drop changes an established game.

Always play lots of games during the training of drops. Rather than doing the second part of the recall use “get its” as releases from the drop to keep up enthusiasm and speed. This will also help avoid patterning an anticipation of the drop and the front order for the recall. Use chutes for recalls and drops to keep the dog moving straight. Use broad jump boards and shorter distance at first. Once the dog is proficient with the jump boards they can be replace with pieces of plastic downspouts cut to manageable lengths and then you can use skinny molding strips cut to manageable (3’) lengths. Don’t be fast to fade using a leash. Once you need something more than a six foot leash use a flexi leash. You can give corrections by putting your thumb on the leash lock and giving a small pop. For example if the dog is recalling to you and leaves the chutes give a pop to remind them they should be straight. The workshop leaders whose dogs are OTChs continue to use flexi leads throughout the dog’s working life span to keep things fresh and crisp. For those who think the leash pops as corrections or the beanbag as an aversive correction are harsh I have to let you know that the demo dogs were enthusiastic throughout, tails wagged continuously and they loved interacting with their handlers through all that was asked of them. All of the dogs were willing to work for either of the handlers. The demo dogs included a Chihuahua, border collie, golden retriever, lab, and a welsh springer spaniel.
 

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I've copied everything out and will carefully go over it and incorporate it into our training. I really appreciate that you took the time to type all of this out - so helpful.

I like those lucite sticks - some people just use wooden dowels. Please don't laugh - I was using a very long plastic shoe horn from Ikea at one point. Those lucite sticks are more practical and stylish.

Right now I think the most difficult is the drop on recall - every time I see a dog doing it correctly I'm just amazed. We're working on the components - but we won't put it together until we've finished Novice because I don't want to mess up the Novice recall.

I'm surprised with the use of a flexileash. I bought one in Target when I first got Babykins but I couldn't control it so I returned it- my daughter has a friend who had a serious hand injury using one. Are you using one in your training? I haven't seen anyone in class using one. Is one brand better than the others?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I personally never use flexi leashes for walks. I do have two, a lighter and a more heavy duty one. I originally got the first one so I could play ball with Lily when we were away at trials without having a problem with an off leash dog on show grounds, etc.

I have never used a flexi for Lily in training, but do for Javelin. It takes some practice to get used to controlling it, but once you do you can use it to better advantage than a regular long line. Mine are original brand Flexis and both are 23' long.

The lucite sticks are great because they are not so conspicuous that they will become target objects. I think they would be very easy to make yourself if you wanted to.

For the drop on recall training I would not worry about teaching the drop as long as you keep it out of the context of recalls, just use it in games and in the context of the utility signals and you will have no problem with the straight recall in novice. The other thing you can do to distinguish straight recalls from drop on recall is to use separate orders. For Lily, and this is what I will teach Javelin also, I say front as her order to do a straight recall. Drop on recall is come-drop-front. Front means exactly that come all the way to me and sit in front. Come means I will probably tell you something else to do on the way back. At home when I want them to come to me I just call their names and say let's go or inside if I am calling from the back door for them to come in the house.

Stay tuned, there is lots more to come.
 

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22,409 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I am going to try to add some more later today, but also Lily and I will be going to an advanced workshop/clinic given by the same people tomorrow, so I will have tons more info once I am done with that one too. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity and means to go to workshops and seminars like these. I know for some people they are not in reach geographically so I think it is important to spread the word.
 
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