The Science Cafe: Science in the Media

Welcome to the Science Cafe! On March 20, 2019, three FDSA instructors with science PhDs hung out for an hour or two and talked science online.

The docs:

The subject: They chatted about a 2017 study on punishment-based dog training and social media coverage of the study. Sometimes, social media coverage is all you get, when studies (like this one) are not open access. How much can we trust this coverage? What does the full study actually say?

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PODCAST E106: Barbara Currier - "Getting Consistent Contacts"

Getting consistent contacts can be hard — But this week BarbaraCurrier joins me to talk about how to do it, and what's involved!

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Canine Musical Freestyle – So Much More Than “Dancing with your Dog”

In 1998, I was given a VHS video tape (remember those?) called "Dancing with your Dog". I chuckled, thinking it was a gag gift and promptly put it on the shelf along with my "real" training books.

Later that year I saw a live freestyle demo at the APDT conference in Pennsylvania. I watched as dog and handler teams moved in unison to music and wowed the audience with cool tricks and behaviors. I said to my friend standing next to me: "I want to do that with my dog!"

"That" was unlike anything I had seen before. It was an inspiring performance of true teamwork, meticulously timed to the music, and executed with sheer joy.

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1788 Hits

E105: Sue Yanoff - "What's RIGHT with Your Dog?"

 The joke says that everything is fun and games until someone ends up in a cone - but what can you do to help reduce the risk of injury - and help tell when something is actually wrong? Sue Yanoff, DVM, shares all that and more for us on today's podcast.

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1084 Hits

Q&A with Helene Lawler: Beyond the Click with R+ 2.0

​For today's post we posed a few questions on the concept of R+ 2.0 to FDSA Instructor Helene Lawler. Below are our questions, along with her response! 

During your time as a trainer, how has positive training evolved?

I brought home my first puppy just shy of 30 years ago. I remember calling around for trainers and being told to wait until the puppy was six months old, or even older. Finally I found someone who said something that made sense to me: "Your puppy is 9 weeks old? You've already missed two critical weeks of training. Get over here right now!"

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E104: Laura Waudby - From Pivots to The Ring

 Into obedience? This episode is for you! We talk about everything from pivots as a foundation for heeling, to what it really means to get ready for the novice ring!

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The Tipping Point: Games to Build Contacts and Teeter Skills

 We all have that dream of perfect contacts. The dream of running as fast as you can while your dog comes down into their perfect contact position and holds that position until you release. Your dog is not distracted by anything you are doing, whether you are running lateral or running past as hard as you can. They drive to the end of the obstacle with no questions. 

Well here is the good news….this doesn't have to be a dream! 

It can be reality with some training and proofing and you too can have the contacts everyone dreams of!

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E103: Deb Jones - "Train it before you need it"

Cooperative care. All too often dog owners don't work on it until they need it, and then it's too late. We brought Deb Jones on to talk about how to be proactive, instead of reactive when it comes to handling.

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What To Do When It All Goes Wrong: Dealing with Frustration & Failure in Dog Sports

Dealing with disappointment in the heat of the moment is tough. 

When you expect success and glory and are instead embarrassed, mortified, or otherwise upset it's a pretty human reaction to get upset, distressed, angry or uncomfortable. 

There are a whole lot of techniques and tools that we can apply to the aftermath of such a stressful moment. In that exact moment, though, when you look at your canine partner and think "WHO ARE YOU?" or "I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS" or whatever other negative thought stops your brain from functioning — well what can you do?

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E102: Hannah Branigan - "Awesome Obedience"

 Hannah Branigan is on the podcast to talk about her new things - a new book on Awesome Obedience and her new series of classes on heeling!! Transcription  Melissa Breau: This is Melissa Breau and you're listening to the Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast brought to you by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, an online school dedicated to providing high-q...
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The 3 Rules that Make or Break Your Agility Foundation

Saving time, teaching your dog to love the sport, and building agility skills that are solid anywhere you go — these are just some of the benefits of a strong agility foundation. 

But you likely have questions, like...

What goes into a strong agility foundation? Are there games you can play to help you get there? How early in your new agility partner's life can you get started?

Here's the good news: In this post, we'll share the answers to those questions.

And the best part? 

They're all things you can start working on today.

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PODCAST E101: Denise Fenzi - Do You Want to be Goal Oriented?

Denise comes on the podcast to talk about the latest happenings at FDSA (and boy is there a lot happening!) and then to chat about the differences between being goal oriented and process oriented. Which do YOU want to be?

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Stress-Free Husbandry: First steps for more cooperative nail care, grooming, and more

This is an excerpt from the book Cooperative Care: Seven Steps to Stress-Free Husbandry by FDSA Instructor Deb Jones, PhD. Available now!

Step One for Cooperative Care: Place Conditioning 

It is important to have a dedicated place in your home where you will practice the majority of your husbandry work. You want somewhere that your dog can easily recognize as a husbandry training location and that you don't use for any other purpose. This enables your dog to make decisions about whether or not he wants to participate, as well as understand what he can expect from you.

A grooming table is an ideal place. It is clearly recognizable to your dog as a training place and the height will keep you from ending up with a backache from bending over. If you don't have a grooming table, any elevated surface, such as an ottoman, can work. Choose a surface that is solid, sturdy, stable, large enough for your dog to easily lie down, and that has a non-slip surface. Your dog will be spending a lot of training time there so it should be as comfortable as possible. The most important aspect of your training place is that you set it up so your dog has a way to get on and off by himself. This is what gives him the ability to leave if he's uncomfortable. You can set up your table next to a chair or other piece of furniture to make it possible for your dog to jump up and down safely.

Occasionally, using an elevated surface simply doesn't make sense. For example, maybe you have a giant breed dog. In this case, it's a good idea to set aside a location with a specific floor covering to delineate the space. A foam yoga mat or some children's play tiles would make a good floor covering for your place. Again, make sure the area is large enough for your dog to lie down comfortably.

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PODCAST E100: Loretta Mueller - "Small Space Skills for Agility"

Trapped inside with your pup due to heat or cold? Today we talk to Loretta about how to get in practice even when you don't have much space to work with.

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Dealing with Negative People: A Guide for The Positive Dog Trainer

So. It's happened. Maybe for the first time, perhaps for the 50th. No matter. It still stings, enrages you, upsets you, and gets under your skin.

Somebody made a snarky comment about you as a trainer, your positive training choices or, even worse, your dog.

The nerve! How dare they?

You chose to be a positive trainer after careful consideration, perhaps even after using a more forceful, punishment-based methodology. You might look up to many amazing positive trainers and be certain that if you were just as good a trainer as they are then the comment wouldn't have happened. 

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2226 Hits

PODCAST E99: Leslie Eide - "Canine Fitness with Cavalettis"

Today we talk science and fitness with Dr. Leslie Eide, and get the scoop her on her class all about cavalettis!

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Unintended Consequences: Understanding Poisoned Cues

In positive reinforcement training, a cue is something that indicates to the learner (your dog) that you would like her to do a certain behavior.

Most cues in dog training are verbal or visual. But cues can be olfactory (a dog training in scent work sniffs the odor and sits) or auditory (a click in clicker training), or environmental (you take your dog out of the car at the trailhead, and she knows she is going for a walk). A touch can also be a cue.

The dog learns that when she hears, sees, smells, or feels the cue, and performs the correct behavior, she will earn a reward.

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2170 Hits

PODCAST E98: Sara Brueske - "Bombproof Behaviors"

Training your dogs with stinky fish on the field? Getting behaviors despite distracting environments (like a motorcycle show at the fair)? Yeah, Sara's done that! And she shares her tips on this weeks podcast!

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Thresholds & Dog Training: When is your dog actually over threshold?

 If you manage a stressed dog, you likely think about thresholds quite a bit.

You think about whether your dog is "over threshold" in a given situation, and you may be continually planning how to keep him "under threshold" as much as possible.

Even if you don't have a dog with a tendency toward fear, reactivity, or stress, you want your dog to be in an optimal emotional state for learning, and that may lead you to thinking about what might push your dog "over threshold" and cause you to have to switch gears.

But just what is this "threshold?"

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11914 Hits

Using Trial Experiences to Improve our Nosework Training

As I've always said about Nosework, we are half the team! That means our success at a nosework trial has more to do with us than our dogs. There is so much involved — setting up training plans, handling, strategy and our nerves — we can make or break the search! Once our dogs know their job and have the skills, we need to focus on OUR skills and to glue it all together from start to finish to excel at a trial.

If you've trialed recently, and were disappointed with the results, it's time to take a look at your own performance!

By reviewing our trial experiences we can 1) own our mistakes, 2) improve our handling, 3) learn to read our dogs better, 4) develop our mental game, and 5) set appropriate goals.

Let's discuss each area in a little more detail. 

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1924 Hits