The Happy Place is Real! Teaching Your Dog To Love Anywhere You May Train

This blog post is a mini lecture taken from Julie's Cookie Jar Games class.

Classical conditioning affects our minds and our bodies, and the way we perceive the world around us. It affects basic functions like heart rate and blood pressure, feelings, and yes, salivation.

All at the level of the autonomic systems of the body.

Classical conditioning does not need your permission. It is ongoing whether you know it or not, and whether you like it or not. 

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1424 Hits

E153: Nicole Wiebusch - "Reward Placement, Stays, and All Things Rally"

The details make all the difference — this week, Nicole and I chat about how tiny changes can have a big impact... from reward placement to reducing reinforcement.

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1050 Hits

The tiny change that can make all the difference: Strategic reward placement

Picture a training session. Your dog does the correct behavior, and you reward them. You did your job, right?

If your dog listened to your cue, and you gave the dog a treat, then all the important parts were taken care of... because marking and rewarding the behavior is the important part, right? Or is it? 

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2284 Hits

E152: Deb Jones - From Dolphins to Dogs: Better, More Cooperative Care

A training opportunity at the SHEDD aquarium in Chicago led Deb Jones down a new path — considering how we can incorporate cooperative care training for our canine companions.

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1273 Hits

Do you want a more efficient search dog?

Sure! Who wouldn't want their dog to find all the hides more accurately and in a faster time? The big question is…. CAN YOU help your dog to be more efficient? After all, doesn't it just depend on the dog finding the scent cone and following Birch back to the hide? 

That was a little tongue in cheek! 

Actually, you CAN help your dog to become a more efficient and effective searcher. The key is in creating a BALANCE between the dog's desires and the inputs that they are receiving.

The search dog lives in a constant state of conundrum. Does he chase a squirrel or smell girl-dog pee or does he go out and seek a scented Qtip? The answer depends on what pays off both with reward and intrinsic value. 

The act of searching is fun for the dog. It's kind of like sitting down to a (doable) jigsaw puzzle and finishing it while sipping on a hot cocoa. I don't know about you, but a 1,000-piece puzzle is pretty daunting to me. I am liable to look for a few edge pieces and then give up when I can't get any to connect. I'm more of a 200-piece puzzler. That is more my speed. So not only do we need appropriate puzzles for our dogs, but we have to help them work through their priorities.

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2630 Hits

E151: Leslie McDevitt - Pattern Games for Working on Reactivity & Focus

The fabulous Leslie McDevitt joins me to talk about her latest book and upcoming FDSA webinar on Pattern Games... games she teaches to help with reactivity and build better focus.

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Simplophile or Complexophile: How you say things matters.

These two words were recently added to my vocabulary by a fellow dog trainer. In a nutshell, the idea is that people have a natural tendency to make topics either simple or complex as a personality trait.

I am a complexophilephobic. My third newest word!

And I have friends who are theoretical complexophiles with applied simplophile tendencies.

How long did it take you to read those words, break them into pieces, and then process what I was trying to say? Was it intuitive and obvious or are you still puzzling them out?

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1377 Hits

E150: Jennifer Summerfield - Behavior Meds: What every dog owner should know

Dr. Jennfier Summerfield is back on the podcast to talk about normal behavior vs. abnormal behavior, when it's time to talk meds, and what meds might be on the table.

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1938 Hits

Planning Ahead: Getting Reinforcers Off Your Body

The process of getting reinforcers (treats or toys) off your body in preparation for entering an obedience or rally ring is something it's easy to overlook and rush. Most dogs act very differently when their handler has treats versus when the handler does not have treats, yet many people go straight from training with treats in their pockets to leaving treats on their crate and going into the ring.

When the dog starts off doing well in the ring, but then his or her performance degrades as the dog realizes that s/he is not going to get a reward, it can be very frustrating.

As the dog's performance gets worse, the handler tends to get confused and upset, emotions the dog can feel, leading to a further decline in behavior. As you can imagine, this can become a vicious cycle, and leaves the handler wondering why his/her dog shuts down in the ring.

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E149: What to Expect at FDSA Training Camp 2020

This week I had on Chelsey Protulipac, Ruth Ellis, and Megan Walsh to talk about their experiences at previous FDSA Training Camps now that registration is open for 2020!

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856 Hits

Moments of Pride: Distraction Training and Timing

Someone working through my Distraction Training Program asked me recently, "When working distraction training with pet dogs, when should the student be instructed to mark the correct behavior?"

I'll address this based on how I think and problem solve – as a relationship-based trainer.

"When should a student mark a behavior?"

Regardless of whether you use a clicker, a marker word, or just stick a cookie in the dog's mouth, the moment is always the same:

At that moment when your heart knew that your dog would succeed, mark it! When you felt pride! 

Your dog walked past a tempting cookie on the ground and completed the recall instead. Did you feel pride? Great; that's the timing you want!

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1780 Hits

E148: Petra Ford - "Conditioned for Excellence in Obedience"

Petra and I talk about the fitness that is required of our competitive obedience dogs... and how working on conditioning exercises can benefit your obedience performance.

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1221 Hits

The Number One Reason Teaching Duration Behaviors is Hard (And A Simple Trick to Make it Easy)

Are you one of the lucky few who find duration easy to train? Or are you like the majority of us, and struggle with getting duration on behaviours?

Because it's an abstract concept, duration can be quite a challenge to teach. Often we can get it for certain behaviours, but not others. And we have no idea why!

We end up with a dog who barks, fusses, repeats the behaviour, offers new behaviours, or just gives up and quits.

If this is you, help is here. I'm going to explain why the most common way to teach duration so often backfires, and then share the method I use that makes teaching duration a snap.

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3627 Hits

E147: Andrea Harrison - "Setting Better Training Goals in 2020"

Happy New Year! Andrea and I talk about reflecting on 2019 and setting goals for the New Year to help you do more and get your brain the right headspace for success.

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1192 Hits

How to Talk to Your Dog: Becoming Cue Savvy

Zen sits on the sofa across the room and stares at me. What does he want? 

If I ask him "what do you want?" he cannot answer me in words. But he can still tell me. How? By what he does. 

If he jumps up, grabs a toy, and deposits it in my lap he has just clearly communicated his current desire to me. Let's say I'm busy and don't want to play right at that moment. So I tell him "go lay down" and he heaves a sigh of disappointment, but goes back to the sofa and settles into a relaxed down to nap for a while longer. 

I used my "go lay down" cue and he completely understood what it meant. He didn't like it, but he understood it. We had clear mutual communication.

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1744 Hits

E146: Helene Lawler - "How to Escape Foundationland"

 Helene has led a number of discussions lately around the idea of foundationland... this place many trainers get stuck in when training their dogs - so I invited her on to talk about the concept and what to do to escape if you find yourself stuck there.

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1344 Hits

Minimalist Training: Incompatible Behaviors

Incompatible behaviors are things that our dogs do that are incompatible with other behaviors; both cannot happen at the same time. Here are some examples:Lying down is incompatible with jumping up – they cannot both be happening at the same time.Pulling on a leash is incompatible with looking at the handler.A toy in a dog's mouth is incompatible w...
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1484 Hits

E145: Megan Foster - "Start Routines and End Routines for Competition"

​When your dogs expectations don't match reality, it can cause countless problems with performance - especially in competition. But routines can help — Megan tells us how.

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1415 Hits

When Roast Chicken is Not Enough…

In recent days, I have had conversations with a few friends who seemed to be all saying the same thing – "My dog and I just don't seem to be having quite as much fun anymore." 

These are great trainers, who adore their dogs, and have always had great relationships with them! Bitten by the dog sports bug, they have been very committed to growing their own knowledge and taking extra classes, going to private trainers – having fun doing All The Things! 

Only now…..there is this.

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2575 Hits

E144: Chrissi Schranz - "Get More Done (And Have More Fun) with Just 5 Mins of Training Time

Chrissi joins me to talk about the winter blues, and how we can overcome them (and our busy to do lists) to find time to train our dogs in the bits and pieces of time we have each day. 

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1283 Hits