2-minute dog trainer – validation from Tempest

I created the 2-minute-dog-training protocols many years ago when Bud and I owned Dogwood Training Center.

In addition to their 2-minute protocols my dogs had access (generally) to an hour class every week. We didn’t always get to work in the class as I was sometimes teaching, but most weeks I was able to slip into class for 30-60 minutes.

And we did league play every week for many years, so my dogs had access to a weekly fun run.

Tempest, at 8 months of age, has worked in 2-3 beginner workshops, for about 30 minutes each time. He has spent countless hours in his ex-pen watching advanced classes.

However, 95% of his training has been in 1-2-minute sessions at mealtime.

Yesterday afternoon Tempest attended his first full class, starting at 4:00 p.m. with introduction to spread hurdles, and ending at 6:00 p.m. with an introduction to wired weaves.

Without any drilling, armed with just the 2-minute work we’ve done and the little bit of beginner sequencing he’s had this past summer and fall, Tempest was actually doing agility.

My practice of walking away from him when he throws away his training in response to over-stimulation had a profound effect on him, by the way.  He works harder and harder to focus and stay in working mode.

I know there will come a time when we need to work on more complex handling skills, and that training sessions may stretch to 10-15 minutes to get things working right.

But I hope I remember this important lesson (my validation in the concept of the 2-minute-dog-trainer) — that tiny lessons, repeated often, worked at mealtime, can train a dog to be both driven and biddable.

At 8 months Tempest was the star of his agility class yesterday. As he should be with all the advantages he’s had.

His behavior demonstrated 6 months of laying a solid foundation of relationship — and focus — and desired behavior being rewarded.

Frankly, I was as proud of myself as I was of my puppy.  And I was actually pleased that my gruesome job with its annoying hours away from home has kept me from obsessing over drilling Tempest.

In the next four months I want to get Tempest fluent in front crosses, pre-cued front crosses, and tandem turns with EITHER body language or absolute directionals (left and right verbals).

In March 2011 we’ll begin weave training, though he’s already being rewarded for entering a set of 2 weaves correctly for his toy or for cheese.

By this time next year, hopefully, I’ll have attended a couple of novice trials and will start filling in any training gaps made obvious by that experience.

You can’t imagine how exciting it is for me to AGAIN have an agility dog who runs with me from the start line, eager and willing to play the game.  SO much fun !!!

I had forgotten how intoxicating dog agility can be with a bold, brave, willing partner.

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