Heel! Fun Ways to Get Moving Forward!

Often times, the hardest step in heeling is that first one. There are so many fun ways to start moving forward! Stop heeling from a boring sit and start motivating your dog!

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962 Hits

Preventing Common Rally Mistakes: Don’t Forget to Pause!

In AKC (American Kennel Club) rally, each sign that requires you to walk around your dog also includes a pause when you get back to heel position. So, what exactly is a pause?

A pause is a complete stop of forward motion with your feet together. Pauses can be fairly quick, but it should be obvious that you paused in heel position. I recommend counting to two in your head to ensure that there's no question about your pause.

Forgetting to pause after walking around your dog is one of the more common handler errors in AKC rally. Unfortunately, it's a big error that will cost you and your dog 10 points for an incorrectly performed sign. It's an easy thing to forget as you are rushing through the course!

Let's look at the signs that require you to pause in heel!

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931 Hits

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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1796 Hits

Why is my dog not responding to my cue?

Often, we hear the comment, that if a dog doesn't respond to a handler's cue it is because they didn't "understand", but "not understanding" is only one of the many reasons why our dog may not respond rapidly or accurately to our cues.

In this blog we are going to consider the much broader range of potential reasons why our dog may not perform the behaviour we are cueing.

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1934 Hits

How resistance training prevents osteoporosis

Engaging in resistance training may contribute to the prevention of osteoporosis by promoting increased bone density. This form of exercise imposes stress on the bones, prompting the body to generate denser bone tissue.

While research hasn't definitively established a substantial increase in bone density through resistance training, a 2020 review suggests its probable efficacy in osteoporosis prevention, albeit with varying evidence across different body regions.

Despite potential variations in bone density outcomes, resistance training offers a spectrum of advantages beyond potential bone strengthening. It plays a role in muscle fortification and, when combined with other exercises, may help diminish the risk of falls.

Explore further to understand the effectiveness of resistance training in averting bone loss, its potential in reversing osteoporosis, and recommended frequency for incorporating this exercise into one's routine. 

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How Exercise Changes Your Body After a Day, a Week, a Month, a Year

Who doesn't want overnight results, in every area of their life? Achieving fitness goals, building muscle, conditioning your body—no matter how you express it, striving for a specific outcome in your workouts likely takes more time than anticipated. If you're wondering just how long, keep in mind: results won't manifest overnight, but they will come.

Indeed, achieving fitness requires patience and dedication. Weeks of effort may pass without noticeable changes, you'll need persistence and an investment in future well-being rather than immediate results. Surprisingly, you might start feeling significantly better long before observable improvements emerge.

Witnessing the results of your workouts can be incredibly gratifying, so whatever stage of your fitness journey you find yourself in, keep going. If you're seeking a timeline for the progress you may experience, consider the key workout approaches—strength training, running, and cardio—to gain insight into why persistence is crucial.

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1625 Hits

Physical activity alleviates arthritis pain and stiffness

Understanding the Importance of Exercise

It can feel safer, or necessary, to stop moving when arthritis pain strikes. But engaging in the right kinds of exercise not only enhances overall health and fitness but also contributes to an improved quality of life when integrated into a treatment program. This includes the following benefits:

  1. Strengthening muscles around joints.
  2. Maintaining bone strength.
  3. Increasing energy levels.
  4. Facilitating better sleep.
  5. Controlling weight.
  6. Improving balance.
  7. Enhancing mood.

Strong muscles are crucial for supporting bones, and neglecting exercise weakens these supportive muscles, leading to increased stress on joints.
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Improving Handler's Balance: As Easy as 1, 2, 3

Balance can feel elusive. It gradually walks towards the door, slipping behind other guests and furniture unnoticed until it's gone or thinking of leaving. A loss of balance can significantly reduce your quality of life and the activities safely available to you. It's helpful to look for ways you have power in situations, from both a physical and a mental standpoint.

Balance is important for handlers for a number of reasons. The first one that comes to mind is injury prevention! Nothing will sideline your team faster than injuries and staying ahead of that is so important. Speed is improved, a reduction in trip or fall risk, a better ability to handle powerful dogs all improved through better balance.

When you think of building better balance does your mind drift to standing on a balancing device? Or perhaps standing on one foot with your eyes closed? Or walking in a straight line with your eyes closed? While these are all ways to work on balance, there are things you can do to expedite balance improvement.

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1519 Hits

Why Do Dog's Disconnect After Reinforcement?

Why is it that dogs often disconnect after reinforcement? Have you ever noticed that your dog checks out after he or she has received a reward? This is a pretty common problem, and it can be exhausting to keep your dog in the game. So, why do dogs disconnect after reinforcement?

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1927 Hits

Unleash Your Memory: Tips and Tricks to Remember Rally Courses

Rally is a fun and captivating dog sport that requires not only obedience skills but also excellent memory recall abilities. Not only do you as a handler need to remember how to properly execute the signs, but remembering the rally course is essential for seamless performance and achieving top scores. In this blog post, we will explore practical strategies to help you improve your memory and successfully remember rally courses. Let's dive in and unleash your memory power!

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1963 Hits

Teaching Dogs Generalization: Expanding Behaviors Beyond Contextual Cues

Generalization is a crucial aspect of dog training that enables dogs to apply learned behaviors in various situations. When teaching a new behavior, the environment and cues significantly shape the dog's response. However, if the cues are too closely associated with specific contexts, the dog may need help generalizing the behavior. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of generalization and provide practical tips on teaching dogs to respond to cues regardless of the environment or contextual cues. 

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1859 Hits

Attitude and Precision - You Can Have Both!!

Is precision important to you in rally or obedience? It's true, most of us would like our dogs to be precise and accurate! Sometimes, however, the way we go about achieving that goal of precise behaviors can affect the dog's attitude. So how can we get both precise behaviors and happy dogs?

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2510 Hits

Gaining Ring Experience... It's Not What You Think (+ A BETTER Option for Ring Confidence)

I do a lot of trial prep classes and classes designed to help dogs overcome their trial stress. One plan I hear over and over again from students is how they are going to enter a show for "ring experience." The dog is a bit unsure, and the only plan they know to try is getting the dog into the ring so they can get used to the environment and see that it's ok!!

Unfortunately, going to a trial for the pure sake of getting experience is a plan that usually leads to problems. 

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6940 Hits

Heel! Location Specific Reinforcement Cues For Improving Position

Location specific reinforcement cues are extremely helpful for improving position while heeling. Because where you deliver the treats affects where the dog wants to be, you can use that to your advantage for whatever tendencies your dog might have.

Reinforcement cues tell the dog that he or she is right. Location-specific reinforcement cues take that a step farther by delivering the reward in a specific way or area, therefore affecting how the dog might perform the behavior in future repetitions. Because dogs are very efficient creatures, they will quickly figure out how to most effectively get the treat. Therefore, they tend to gravitate towards where the treat comes from. If we can be strategic about reward placement, we can affect the tendencies of the dog over time.

Let's look at some common location-specific reward markers in heeling.

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2602 Hits

Train Smarter, Not Harder: Using TailScribe to Simplify Your Training

 This is a guest post written by FDSA Student and developer of TailScribe, Chris Tiller. We're thrilled to have Chris share the details of how the app came to be and how you can implement it as part of tracking your training!

I have two dogs, Stanley, a more sensitive, shy, reserved little guy, and Missile, a much more "in your face," excited bombastic crazy little man. They both have entirely different personalities on opposite ends of the spectrum.

I also enjoy training both of them. I've been working with Stan on reactivity-based issues for several years, but as you'd guess, Missile is very much the exact opposite of Stan. Not reactive, super tolerant, and obnoxious in the best way.

So this means there are zero overlaps in their training, and they both have some very long-term far-off goals that I need to be aware of, which leads us to...

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3420 Hits

6 Dog Training Vests: An FDSA Student's Honest Review

 I am always looking for a good vest for dog training. Ideally, I love it when I can find a vest that can hold all my things without needing to rely on additional clothing pockets, backpacks, treat pouches, fanny packs, etc. I also personally have great danes, so most of my gear (lotus ball, toys, volume of treats) is super-sized.

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17923 Hits

6 “Magic” Dog Training Tricks

Recently I posted this question in the FDSA Alumni Facebook group – "What training tip or approach gave you that magic touch or simply surprised you with how easy it was to implement and see results?" 

Rarely are there training hacks or magic wands in dog training, but sometimes there is something THAT simple that gets results. Based on the responses to my post, here are the top 6 most popular "magic" training tricks!

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2994 Hits

Core Foundations for Canine Handler Fitness: Where to Start If It All Feels too Hard

Where do you start when the most basic core exercises you're exposed to are too tricky?

Like dog training, revisit foundations!! Foundations are critical when people are looking to build strength. When the foundations aren't fluent, the more advanced exercises can remain inaccessible, and/ or can cause discomfort.

What I'm going to share with you today are the foundation steps my clients go through, our non negotiable criteria and exercises you can do that are generally well tolerated by most bodies. In a most sincere effort to make this accessible, there are as many standing exercises as possible.

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2579 Hits

Effective coaching for dog sports

Whether we are providing advice in our role as a professional instructor, a volunteer instructor, or a supportive friend, knowing how to give training and competition advice in the most beneficial way is critically important.

To be effective and well-received, training and competition advice needs to be delivered at a time when the handler is unemotional, focused, and receptive to learning. Most competitors will be able to effectively process new information during a routine training session, but for others new information is best delivered at times separate from active training sessions or competitive events. Often the biggest "aha" moments occur for competitors when they are:

  • Listening to an instructor present a topic in a lecture-style setting (e.g. webinar, seminar, class).
  • Discussing training in an informal way with another trainer (e.g. when chatting before a class, or when on a break between periods of active training; or when meeting up for coffee, lunch, etc.)

The reason beneficial learning occurs at these times is because in these settings the individual is receptive; the person has the mental and emotional capacity to take on new information, process what they are hearing, and consider how it may relate to their current training sessions or competition performance. 

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2250 Hits

Handler Training for Working Large, High-drive Dogs

There are a number of factors that we need to take into consideration when we're thinking about handling large dogs without compromising our own bodies. I am looking forward to sharing with you how I coach my large dog clients so they can interact safely, comfortably and effectively.

The first is general safety and injury prevention because large high-drive dogs put a lot of force and torque on our bodies. In particular our spine, knees and shoulders. I'm going to use the example of an intense tugging session throughout this post, although this same information will help with carrying crates, helper work, being pulled on a leash etc.

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2166 Hits