extinquishing correction-based training ideas

Bud had a 2-hour private lesson today with a group from Zanesville, Ohio. They whole group is working with humane societies in that part of the world and some are also teaching obedience. But the primary point of their visit was to learn how to teach beginner agility to inmates training dogs in a “cell dog” program.

The inmates will be creating some agility equipment and these folks will be the instructors in the program. I watched for the first 30 minutes or so and was struck with how many negative markers I heard in that 30-minute period.

Bud’s got a system for raising funds for rescue groups and shelters when he does seminars. If you say “no!” to your dog while working in one of his seminars you get to donate $5 to a rescue group. Attendees are asked if anyone is working with a rescue group and whoever volunteers to accept the funds gets to keep track of the “NO” list for the 2 or 3 days of seminar.

Years ago  there were seminars where hundreds of dollars were paid by handlers saying “no.”  These days the donations are generally less than $50 per seminar. Fact is, handlers are learning the benefits of positive markers and the detriment of negative markers.

The folks from Zanesville would have been a treasure trove at an agility seminar. <g>  As I watched them it occurred to me how confused their (mostly) rescued dogs were by the negative markers (sometimes “no” and sometimes “aack!”) and how the markers retarded the learning process.

Once the negative markers went away and the treats and positive markers came out, the dogs started learning with great confidence. It was interesting and refreshing.

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