Searching Anywhere and Everywhere… The Key to Nosework Trial Preparation

The ability to search anywhere and everywhere begins with ROUTINE and VARIETY. The sheer range of areas that we get to search is part of what makes this the coolest sport in town.

In trialing, I've searched fairgrounds, stadiums, and even Victory Lane at the Chicagoland Speedway!

Every time we step to the line, it's something new, something different, and an entirely new and unique experience. That newness isn't just for us, but also for our dog. So how in the world do we prepare our dogs to search anything and everything?

The answer is ROUTINE and VARIETY.

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2782 Hits

E176: Julie Daniels - "Self Control for the Wild Child"

Julie Daniels is back — and we're balancing out last weeks chat on sensitive dogs with a talk this week about the wild child... and how to put the "good" in "crazy good." 

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  2484 Hits
2484 Hits

Discover the Fun of the Master Rally Class!

Are you a little intimidated by the master signs, with all those spins and sends?

There's no reason to be! Although some of the signs seem intimidating, most of the master signs are just building off skills that you already know from advanced and excellent. Many signs are simply chaining multiple advanced or excellent signs together, or adding some distance or speed. 

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1464 Hits

E175: Sara Brueske - "Mondioring: Not Just for Bitey Dogs"

Sara comes on to talk about the new Mondioring Obedience title, which is open to all dogs — and what it takes to train for and compete in this exciting and unpredictable sport.

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2795 Hits

Play for Everyone!

I think playing with dogs is a really good idea.

When people play with their dogs, they like them better. They smile more. Their dogs start to look towards them more easily and frequently.

In short – it's just nice. It's nice for people and it's nice for dogs.

So. How does one play with a dog?

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2576 Hits

E174: Helene Lawler - "Training Sensitive Dogs"

Have a dog that shuts down or checks out during training? Helene shares why this is overarousal, not low arousal as many handlers think — plus her 5 part approach to training sensitive dogs!

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2995 Hits

Virtual Titling in Rally: A Fun Opportunity!

The days of cancelled dog shows due to COVID-19 have led to several opportunities for virtual titling in various sports, including Rally.

Virtual trials can have so many advantages, so this is a really exciting opportunity! Some dogs can't compete at normal dog shows, and this is a great way to show off their skills. For dogs that struggle with reactivity, or severe ring stress, or ones who find the dog show atmosphere too distracting or scary, the virtual titling program is perfect. 

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2791 Hits

E173: Petra Ford - "Keeping Heeling Fun + New Puppies!"

Many dogs lose their enthusiasm for heeling once they begin to train patterns — we talk about keeping heeling fun, and Petra's new puppy!

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2727 Hits

Challenge Builds Commitment: A Nosework Case Study

What builds more intrinsic value for you? Something that you can achieve easily or something that you have to work for?

I did a poll recently and 75% of people leaned towards more challenging scenarios as builders of value. Of course there are modifiers, and for most people it isn't an either / or, however the trend was clearly in support of more challenge vs less.

In fact, Psychology supports this!

Achievement is tied to interest… which is associated with feel-good feelings. These feel good feelings also create a strong tie to memory and retention. While not a perfect comparison, we can extrapolate this to how our dog's feel when being trained.

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  2625 Hits
2625 Hits

E172: Michael Shikashio - "Resource Guarding, Aggression, and Reactivity"

Mike and I chat about all the projects he's working on right now — and the differing types of guarding, aggression, and reactivity that dogs exhibit.

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4962 Hits

How to do Hard Things

It's the end of June, which means we are now exactly halfway through the year. Do you remember, way back in January, when you set your goals and plans for 2020? Do you even recall what you intended to accomplish? It feels like 100 years ago, doesn't it?

So, how are those goals working out for you? All met? Knocked out of the park? Or have they been thrown under the bus?

If your hopes and dreams for the year have tire treads through them, you're in good company. For the past weeks and months, many of us have had to put some or even all of our plans on ice and just focus on staying safe, staying calm, and staying healthy.

As a result, it's tempting to just write off the year and hope that 2021 will be better. But we still have a solid six months to turn things around and accomplish things we'll be proud of.

Pause for a moment and pay attention to what your brain just whispered into your ear when you read that last sentence. Did it say "Hell yes! Let's do it!" Or did it toss out something like "What's the point?" or "It's too late now!"?

Take note of how you feel when you look forward to the rest of this year. If you feel tired, heavy, sad, or scared, it's going to be hard to find the motivation to do the work it takes to train your dog and achieve your goals.

Here's why: Your thoughts create your feelings, these feelings fuel your actions, and your actions produce your results. If you aren't achieving the results you seek, work your way back up the chain to figure out the weak link.

(Spoiler alert: It's always your thoughts.)

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1777 Hits

E171: Julie Daniels - "7 Days to a More Confident Dog"

How do you build confidence? Can you? Julie and I do a deep dive on the topic and talk about her upcoming workshop, starting this Sunday!

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2846 Hits

Fluency on Cue!

 Let's talk fluency. It's something we all strive for in our behaviors. Behaviors that are fluent are consistent, dependable and reliable. They have been generalized to various location and contexts. In short, the dog has the skill and confidence in the behavior, and we can count on the dog executing it to a high degree.

We not only need to have fluent behaviors; we also need fluent cues.

Whaaat!? There's a difference?

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1992 Hits

E170: Chrissi Schranz - "What is reinforcement anyway?"

Have you ever considered that reinforcement is actually a behavior, and can be taught, put on stimulus control and trained to fluency in the same ways? Chrissi shares that and more in this week's interview.

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  2425 Hits
2425 Hits

Want To Do Better in Rally? 5 Tips to Improve Your Score!

Everyone would like to get better scores in the ring! It might be surprising to learn that many points are lost to preventable things, like completing the sign incorrectly. Handler errors are by far the most common reason for deductions in rally. Read on to learn five of the most common handler errors that I see in AKC Rally.

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6172 Hits

E169: Nicole Wiebusch - "Titling During a Pandemic"

Been missing the competition scene? Nicole and I talk about opportunities to title virtually in Rally — and things to consider when working on virtual titles!

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2008 Hits

Disconnection is a Two Way Street: Why Dogs Disconnect From Training (And What to Do About It)

A student is taking a private agility lesson at my facility. She finishes a particularly challenging sequence and turns toward me to talk about it. Meanwhile, her dog runs off and starts exploring the agility area on her own. While we chat, the dog circles the area, running through random tunnels or searching for treats. The handler finally calls her dog, but the dog is busy having fun.

Eventually, she collects her dog and puts her on leash, frustrated.

I am watching an online training video from one of my classes. The dog finishes a sequence of behaviors, and the handler hands him a treat and turns away, walking back to the area where she started. The dog eats the treat, looks at the handler, and seeing no connection, starts sniffing the ground. After a few seconds of this, the handler notices that her dog is not with her and scolds the dog, saying "get over here!"

As an instructor of both online and in-person classes, I regularly see my students disengage from their dogs while training. This disengagement does not usually occur while training the behaviors, but rather during the resets in between repetitions. I work very hard to maintain connection with my dog throughout our entire training session, and I don't want him to practice the cycle of disengaging and me having to get him back. I want my dog to be working with me the entire time that we are training, rather than possibly self-reinforcing by sniffing the ground or scavenging for treats, or building in other undesirable behaviors.

So how can we fix these all-too-common scenarios?

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4212 Hits

E168: Megan Foster - "Training Your Brain to Compete"

Can you stay focused and stick to your plan even when your nerves raise their head or do other areas of your life intrude into the ring? Megan and I talk about how to train your brain to be competition ready.

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  2143 Hits
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2143 Hits

Focus! It’s not just for dogs: Mindset Skills for Dog Sports Competitors

Story time! A small look into a huge turning point in my competitive career over the course of one weekend. I had been working with my current mentor for four months prior to attending a major competition. Read on to learn about the events surrounding that day, and how it was my mental skills that brought me across the finish line.

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  2516 Hits
2516 Hits

E167: Loretta Mueller - "Jumping Foundations"

Collection, extension, and teaching agility foundations — Loretta and I talk about training agility skills so your dog can achieve their full potential.

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  1606 Hits
1606 Hits

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