2 minute dog trainer – Tempest coming of age

We have two more weeks before Tempest’s AKC agility debut, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how he’s progressing.

I’m also pleased with myself on several counts (sounds weird, but bear with me).

First, I created the 2-minute dog trainer for basic obedience — four (4) modules including a) attention to name and recall, b) greeting a friendly stranger, c) walking on a loose leash, and d) calming behaviors, grooming, overall house manners.

Second, I created the 2-minute dog trainer for local shelters — seven (7) modules including a) choosing the right shelter dog, b) teaching new name and recall, c) housetraining, d) managing destructive behavior, e) greeting friendly strangers, f) walking on a leash, and g) calming behaviors for your home.

Third, and building on the previous two packages, I wrote the 2-minute dog trainer for Sport Foundation training, including  a) come to front,  b) stay in sit or down,  c) stay in stand,  d) standard or wing jump performance,  e) tire jump performance,  f) weavepole entries,  g) unambiguous contacts,  h) heel position training.

All the time I was sharing these protocols with campers, writing and publishing as electronic documents on our website, I personally had no dog on which to practice them.

Fourth, I focused all my attention, and brought 14 years of opinion, on purchasing the right pup on which I would practice these 2-minute dog training protocols.

Fifth and finally, I continued with the 2-minute Sport Foundation protocols during Tempest’s puppyhood, during my 4-month stint as a slave in the kitchen of the local hospital (seemed like much longer, but that’s because I was in a state of constant physical pain and psychological torture <g>), during a long winter where we took on tons of new TDAA work, and into his competition preparation.

Near Tempest’s 1-year birthday I added 2-a-day training sessions to the 2-minute protocols. These additional training sessions involved weaving and sequencing, and each lasted no more than 15 minutes.

At the same time we joined an intermediate class at another location, giving Tempest experience on other equipment.

Now, at age 14-1/2 months, Tempest is well ahead of many other pups his age in terms of performance skills, especially 2-on-2-off contacts, start-line stays, and weave entries.

He’s also WAY better behaved on basic obedience skills than most dogs we encounter, either here at home or out in the world.

And I’m very careful to not over-stress his young body, while keeping his active mind occupied. Though he’s advanced in skills for a pup his age, he never experiences intense or extended training sessions.

All training is done in 2-5-minute play sessions. If the temps or humidity makes training stressful or uncomfortable, training is discontinued. I never insist on multiple repetitions.

Three months ago we began focusing on jumping and sequencing, and Tempest started learning how to weave.

Two months ago jumps became job one, with weave entries job two.

One month ago jump bars began moving up from 12″ to 16″ to an occasional 20″ jump.

With our debut in just over 2 weeks we’re now focusing on control and close work.

After several weeks of playing with toys and tugging to reward him for sequences, contacts, weaves, etc.,  I’ve switched back to string cheese and have increased his reinforcement schedule.

Last night in class he dropped just 2 bars the whole hour, though many of the jumps were approached from odd angles. This is a huge improvement over his previous tendancy to blast through the jump bars instead of going over them.

He hit and held 95% of his contacts (he popped off the teeter twice).

More importantly, he followed my movement and stayed on course most of the time. He took a couple of tunnels without being asked, but we weren’t working at the time so they were purely “time killers.”

Instead of being nervous about his debut I’m excited and looking forward to a good laugh with him.

Months ago, when I was considering my next agility dog, and before I had Tempest, I just wanted a dog who was brave and willing.

Now I have that brave and willing partner, and he has mad skills, and I credit the 2-minute dog training protocols (and my persistence and consistency) with the working relationship we’re building.

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One Response to “2 minute dog trainer – Tempest coming of age”

  1. Linda Says:

    Thanks for sharing your training of Tempest. Many of my agility friends, like you, have puppies that will soon be ready to trial. For many, September is going to be their debut month. I think I set the ball rolling 3 years ago when I got my Cairn rescue boy at 5 months old. He was rescued from a dog auction. Today is his “gotcha” day–we drove from Western NC to Little Rock to pick him up from his foster family. Andy is in AKC Open now, but we’re taking the summer off from trialing to work on a few issues. Five minute sessions several times a day–with playtime after–work well with him. And our trainer has us break down the sequences she sets up into short runs, to keep him focused. Although I am not new to agility (my Cairn girl is in AKC EX Pref, and will be 10 next month), it’s great to have resources like yours and Bud’s to turn to for reinforcement. And new ideas for problem-solving, too. Thanks so much to both of you.

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