What Happens Between Your Cue And Your Reward?

 As an instructor I see common mistakes that many students make. Important concepts that can be applied to all aspects of training. Regardless of the sport, level, or dog's experience. These are concepts we need to remember every time we train for the length of the dog's training career. This is the first in a series of blogs I'll put out reviewing some of these concepts.

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1268 Hits

The Ultimate Goal: A Happy Joyful Dog in Competition (And Why That's Hard to Achieve)

My ultimate goal when trialing is to have the same dog in the ring that I have in training. A dog that is happy and joyful and having a blast. 

I think we all want that. And we train really, really hard for a very, very long time to get that. 

And then we compete and don't get it. And we are very disappointed and frustrated. And to be honest, a little confused. I mean, what the heck happened?? We worked soooo hard!! We made everything sooo much fun!! And when we train at home, the dog is sooo happy!! We start to question whether our dog is cut out for this. Whether the dog can handle the "stress" of the ring. Maybe this just isn't our sport. 

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1481 Hits

FREE Webinar with Petra Ford - In the House: Training in Small Spaces

Training in small spaces is an incredibly valuable training tool and my dogs think it's a blast! Having trouble with an exercise? Have a piece(s) that could use more confidence or animation? Have behaviors that require precision, but you don't want to lose enthusiasm? I'll show you how to turn them into behaviors your dog loves and finds self-reinforcing. Small spaces are perfect for building engagement, working with reinforcers off your body, laying the foundation for distraction work, strengthening ring entrances, transitions, and more! Time for a change of scenery. Join me to learn how to optimize training in small spaces.

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  2513 Hits
2513 Hits

Failure is my Friend: Redefining the meaning of Failure

Failure is a word that has a bad bad bad rap. I mean the poor word really did get the short end of the stick. People just have it all wrong. They see failure as something bad. Failure means you're not good enough, you didn't try hard enough, people look down at you, you're a loser. 

Failure evokes a host of negative feelings… depression, unworthiness, fear, anxiety, shame, disappointment, being less than, not measuring up, thinking that everyone else has achieved while I have not… I have "failed". We obsess about how it makes us look in other people's eyes. We define our self-worth by external accomplishments and when we don't achieve them, once again we have failed. 

The truth of the matter is everybody's got it all wrong.

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  2011 Hits
2011 Hits

One Trainer's Journey: From "Building Drive" to Understanding Optimal Arousal Levels

When I first learned to train for competition obedience, all problems were solved with more "drive."

Drive was loosely defined as getting the dog as "high" (aroused) as possible. I.e. tugging, playing, chasing food, games..anything that increased a dog's arousal level.

...Which is pretty dangerous when you pair a dog with a genetic predisposition to becoming over adrenalized with a trainer that has no concept of what the words "drive" or "arousal" really mean, and what they do to a dog chemically and emotionally!

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  3289 Hits
3289 Hits

What to expect at an Obedience Trial

Starting a new sport is exciting. Entering your first trial can be a little frightening. Everything is new and you don't know what to expect. The more information you have ahead of time the better you will feel. Here is a little guide on how to prepare for your first obedience trial and how things run once you get there.

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  4819 Hits
4819 Hits