Using Restrained Release to Teach a "Go To Target" Behavior

I love shaping as much as the next trainer — but I occasionally come across a dog who does better with luring and prompting (including my own young dog, Levi). So I combined a few concepts I've seen elsewhere and used what I'm calling "Restrained Release" to teach him a targeting behavior.

What concepts? 

Well, I'm making use of opposition reflex here in much the same way we often do when teaching a restrained recall — holding the dog back and encouraging them to pull forward leads to a naturally dynamic and enthusiastic behavior. I'm also using a location specific marker ("Get it" means food out on the floor) and combining those things with the visual prompt of the food being consistently delivered on the target. 

This is the method I typically use when starting a new dog in Treibball, since it's quick and it builds an interest in searching out the target that can then carry over nicely to going out and around a ball to find their target even when they can't see it.

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1261 Hits

E191: Julie Flanery - "How do I train that?"

How do YOU choose which technique(s) you'll use for a particular behavior? We do a deep dive into that question with Julie Flanery in this week's podcast.

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1398 Hits

Improving Your Heeling the Easy Way!!

Does your dog heel wide? Does he forge or sit crooked? Is she wrapping around your body? It's likely that your reward placement has contributed to these problems!

Heeling is such a complicated behavior. Pair that with the fact that dogs want to go where the rewards come from, and you can have a mess on your hands pretty quickly!

When I help my students with heeling troubleshooting, so often the fix, or at least part of it, is changing the reward placement. It's pretty incredible what a change this can make!

Many people hold treats in their right hands, and they reward by reaching across the front of their bodies and treating the dog, either from the right hand or by passing it to the left. Generally when I see people give the dog the treat, it's being delivered with the dog's head wrapped in front of the handler's left leg. Reward this way a few dozen times, and you'll see your dog wrapping and forging in order to get closer to where those treats are coming from!

Another common way to reward the dog for heeling is by spitting food. Sounds like a great way to teach the dog attention, right? Here's the problem - in order for the dog to see your face, he has to forge and wrap.

You can see how rewarding this way can set up the dog for some issues, yet most people aren't even aware that they are doing it! Thankfully, it's a simple fix that can make a big difference!

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2009 Hits

E190: Kamal Fernandez - The Building Blocks of A Dog's Life

Kamal and I talk about proactive socialization for lockdown, life, and longevity — including how to tailor socialization to the dog in front of you, and why socialization isn't a one-size-fits-all process.

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1716 Hits

Play with Dogs: 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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  2094 Hits
2094 Hits

E189: Denise Fenzi - "From Partner to Friend: Conversations with Raika"

Befriending a dog is a special gift — in this weeks podcast, Denise and I talk about her latest book, which takes readers through the journey of exactly how special that friendship can be.

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  1364 Hits
1364 Hits

25 Dog Training Books by Fenzi Dog Sports Instructors (and where to buy them)

​Stuck at home and looking for new ways to expand your dog training knowledge? Or maybe you're a Fenzi fan looking for more from your favorite instructors... either way, this list is for you. In it, I share a full list of books from our various instructors! And we'll plan to come back and update it, so if you want to bookmark it and check back in later, you can. 

Books are organized alphabetically by author last name, and each book includes a bit of a summary and where you can find it, so you can click straight through to go shopping! 

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  2486 Hits
2486 Hits

E188: Kevin Ringstaff - "Dealing with the Loss of a Pet"

Pet Grief Counselor Kevin Ringstaff joins Melissa to talk about the inevitable, and how to find support when it happens.

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  1700 Hits
1700 Hits

Trainer Persistence and Problem Solving: Training Dogs to Enter the House Politely!

One of my dogs has a rather unfortunate habit. Lyra comes into the house from the yard like a demented bat out of hell, with both of my other dogs after her in hot pursuit.

The results are an impressive combination of screaming, careening into walls and a generic cacophony of noise and energy that is rivaled by few. The mayhem lasts for about a minute or two, at which point the edge is off, and we go back to a more normal situation – only to be repeated the next time the dogs come in from the yard.

I have put up with this behavior for some time now. Not because I like it, but because it usually happens when I'm most vested in my work and I don't want to stop to train dogs. Since I have not addressed this issue and you get what you give, I get…bedlam.

Recently I decided I'd had enough, so I decided to solve the problem. 

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  2040 Hits
2040 Hits

E187: Melissa Breau - "A Little Bit of Background..."

Today we flip the script — Sara Seymour comes on the podcast to interview Melissa. We talk treibball, marketing, and more!

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802 Hits

Building a Breathtaking Back Up!

Whenever the Back Up 3 Steps appears on the course map at rally trials, collective groans echo through the Excellent crowd. Against a wall, the back up is great, but take away that wall or gate and everything goes south.

The good news is, you can have a beautiful back up! This process is how I teach the back. If you break this skill down, you will build a breathtaking back up in just a short amount of time!

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2883 Hits

E186: Lori Stevens - "Fitness Foundations"

Lori Stevens joined me this week to talk about how to get started in fitness and the benefits of fitness — not just for our dogs, but also in terms of improving their handlers' skills.

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  625 Hits
625 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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  1666 Hits
1666 Hits

E185: Petra Ford - "What goes into heelwork?"

Ever wondered what it takes for your dog to accomplish beautiful heads up heeling? Petra and I talk about the conditioning and body awareness work she does to achieve that picture for her dogs!

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1936 Hits

What You Need to Know to Enter an Agility Trial

Are you thinking about entering an agility trial as a new exhibitor and not sure what to expect? This post will help you:

  • Find agility trials,
  • Understand what needs to be addressed to prepare for competing,
  • Learn the procedure for entering,
  • Explain the procedure after you enter,
  • Understand what a typical competition day looks like,
  • Learn how COVID-19 has affected the trials.

This post focuses on AKC agility. But there are also many other organizations you can check out if they are in your area. Each organization has different classes, strategies, goals, and ways of doing things. There is something for everyone out there! 

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2279 Hits

E184: Shade Whitesel - "The Importance of Toy Skills for Sports Dogs"

Why are toy skills important? What does having them look like — and what can it help you accomplish? Shade and I talk about those things and more in today's interview! 

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1644 Hits

The Cooperative Care Certificate Program is Here!

It's here! It's finally here! After countless hours of effort and angst, I have a new thing to show the dog training world. And of course, now I have even more angst about whether or not the training world will love my new thing as much as I do! When you create something out of thin air you become quite protective and attached. It's time to let go now though and share the Cooperative Care Certificate Program, developed and maintained in partnership with Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.

Check it out at www.cooperativecarecertificate.com

The Cooperative Care Certificate is a virtual video titling program for dog owners and trainers. People who are interested in earning the certificate will train 10 essential husbandry exercises to a passing level. The essential exercises are 1) chin rest, 2) lie on side, 3) restraint, 4) wearing a muzzle, 5) handling feet & nails, 6) handling mouth & teeth, 7) medications, 8) injections & blood draws, 9) eye exams, and 10) ear exams. . . That covers a LOT of ground! In addition, there are 3 levels of increasing challenge for each exercise. 

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2133 Hits

E183: Amy Cook - "Teaching Your Dog How to Feel"

Amy and I talk about what it means to have a well adjusted dog — plus handling situations where maybe your dog isn't acting particularly well-adjusted.

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1735 Hits

Get in the Rally Ring - How to Enter a Rally Trial and What to Expect When You Get There

If you've never entered a rally trial before, it can be a bit overwhelming! In this blog I'll lay out the steps for entering a trial and knowing what to expect when you walk in the door.

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  1475 Hits
1475 Hits

E182: Deb Jones - "New Virtual Titling Program for Cooperative Care"

Originally a student suggestion, today Deb is launching her new virtual titling certificate program for Cooperative Care! Check out the program at: cooperativecarecertificate.com!

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  1443 Hits
1443 Hits

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