2-minute dog trainer – adapting to change

Tough economy, hard times for potential students, new work schedules, decreased time for dog training, etc., etc., etc.

I still have an 8-month old puppy needing attention and training, and this is work I’m committed to.

The 2-minute dog training protocols are perfect for this situation. Regardless of how busy my schedule is, Tempest still gets trained each day on:

Absolute directions — with the potential for great speed, and my desire to ensure he fulfills this potential, we’re training Tempest to know “left” and “right” just as Kory knows them.

When Bud’s here and I’m at work he’s in charge of dinner training. Bud works on absolute directionals with no equipment involved other than a hungry puppy and a bowl of dog kibble.

Bud began this training with luring, repeating “right” – “right” – “right” – “right” and assisting (then allowing) Tempest to spin clockwise — and immediately giving a positive marker (“YES!”) and feeding part of his meal. 

With one bowl of food there are a dozen or so opportunities per meal.  If time is an issue Bud will do just 3-4 repetitions and let Tempest finish his food.

When Tempest became 90% reliable on “right” Bud introduced “left.”

At first there was great confusion but Bud persisted, repeating “left” – “left” – “left” – “left” and assisting (later allowing) Tempest to spin counter-clockwise.

When Tempest became 90% reliable on left Bud introduced “right” again.

Some observations — when given a choice, Tempest will revert to the first cue he learned (“right”).

Also, I believe the verbal cue “right” is more dog-friendly than “left.”  “Right” is a stronger-sounding word, that it, it has a hard vowel sound versus the soft vowel sound in “left.”

I believe this accounts for Tempest’s preference to performing “right.”  He simply gets it easier.

We will persist.

Sequencing — the hoops had to be withdrawn from the dog yard, so it takes more time and effort to get Tempest working on “hoop – go on – touch – hoop – go on.”

I found one of Bud’s new hoops (NADAC-style) chewed, with the PVC base deconstructed. My first fear was that Tempest had chewed it to destruction, but I was able to put it back together.

Still the hoop portion is nearly chewed into 2 pieces, so the hoops were taken out of the yard.

However, with his breakfast, Tempest gets to work a little on sequencing. Considering that sequencing is simply doing one thing after doing another, with the reward coming after all the work is done, Tempest is doing sequences of just 2 events.

I have him either in front of me or beside me, with his contract trainer off his opposite shoulder from where I’m standing.  (For example, contact trainer with Tempest standing off to the right of it, and ME standing off to the right of Tempest.)

I want to use his absolute directional training to get him to turn away from me, with the idea in mind that I can use body position to turn him toward me in most situations, but a turn away from me at a distance might be more probable if he understands an absolute directional to move away.

With Tempest, then the contact trainer, on my LEFT, my cues are “LEFT – WALK IT.”

Tempest gets a positive marker (“Yes!”) for making the correct turn, and gets to eat for hitting his 2-on-2-off position on the contact trainer.

Then, with Tempest, then the contact trainer, on my RIGHT, my cues are “RIGHT – WALK IT.”

Tempest gets another positive marker (“Yes!”) for making the correct turn, and gets to eat for hitting his 2-on-2-off position on the contact trainer.

Interesting Note:  Tempest is 100% reliable on his absolute directionals when the contact trainer is the target, or the end of the sequence.

The problem, of course, is that I may be inadvertently providing a physical cue of turning in the direction of the contact trainer. I try to stand still but old habits die hard.

In other news, TDAA business is now being handled by a small army of volunteers. 

Several people in Illinois are collecting the suite of agility equipment and office supplies, transferring responsibility for the bank accounts, arranging for audits, and arranging for other services to continue or improve.

Bud continues to receive proxies, and we’re preparing the TDAA Member Guest Suite in our house.

Opponents continue to bad-mouth Bud (me too, probably) to anyone who will listen, but the number of people willing to listen is limited. We’ve actually received proxies from some folks who have first-hand knowledge of this behavior.

I realize that all politics are local, and that every endeavor is political in some way, but can’t we all agree that Dog Agility (for God’s sake) should be an enjoyable activity, as devoid as possible of politics?

We continue to work toward establishing protocols for speedy delivery of dog registrations, trial premium approvals, trial date publication, trial record uploading, dog record keeping and publication, and title certificate distribution.

Additionally, we’ll be looking at “who should pay for what” in our efforts to build TDAA clubs and support the hard-working individuals who are currently supporting the TDAA organization.

We want to enable all clubs to grow, and assist financially when possible, without bankrupting TDAA as an organization. This is not, however, a time to be stingy with the organization’s resources.

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One Response to “2-minute dog trainer – adapting to change”

  1. Linda Says:

    Thank you Marsha for sharing your training of Tempest. My youngest Cairn is almost 3 years old, and just got his AKC Novice titles in October, but he is still often distracted in the ring and in training class. Last week, our trainer suggested that to keep him focused on me I should hand feed him his evening meal while walking around. Well, of course he is very focused on me since I have his food bowl in my hand. So, remembering how you are training Tempest, I now include a little training–for example, giving him some kibble after he weaves successfully. After just a few days, he is already increasing his speed. We’re not trialing again until mid-December, so by continuing your training plan, I’m sure he’ll be a better-focused Cairnboy.

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