Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oh man! This dog trainer's dogs are reactive in class.


Duke at school nearly 2 years ago. Focused and locked on.

I recently enrolled Petey into a beginner's agility class at All About Dogs, a new training school that opened on the west end of Toronto this year. The head trainer and owner is pure +R and is an accomplished dog sports/agility trainer so I was quite excited to visit their school, observe class, and enroll.

Some of you might recall that when we first took Petey into fostering, we enrolled him at Who's Walking Who so that we could observe how he'd be in a group class setting - he was awesome - a bit interested in other dogs, but extremely handler focused and he worked diligently (earning him the Top Dog award at WWW!). That was the proof I needed that Petey would be great for my Karen Pryor Academy dog, where he worked reliably off leash in class on exercises like paw target the cone, nose target the disc, loose leash walk past the steak, etc.

When I talk to my students at When Hounds Fly about training new behaviors in distraction free environments, I talk about reliable recall and focus at the dog park as being the ultimate test. Petey and Duke recall, target, stay, etc. very well at the dog parks, so I guessed they were ready for class!

To my surprise, both Petey and Duke were extremely distracted and unfocused at agility class, to the point that I would label them as reactive!

Oops, dog trainer error. I never take them to my own classes (since I want to focus on clients) and its been so long since they've been to group classes (Duke hasn't been in school for 2 years), I really let them slide.

Duke will be continuing on in agility class, but I have a lot of focus and attention exercises ahead of me to get him ready - and I'll be blogging about it here.

The shoemaker's children are often shoeless... but not for long! Duke, you're getting a new pair!


1 comment:

Daizy, George, Taiki n Keegan said...

so true! Keegan went to a puppy class then I had a string of really challenging fosters and helping others with privates and all of a sudden a 1 1/2 later, I realized he never did beginner ....hence the recent class. Lucky for me we did play lots of games (emotional self control) through Susan Garrett's and Leslie McDevitt's programs which prep for Agility.

Agility brings out the best of their either herding or chase instincts, fun police or just plain..don't want to be left out of the fun instincts... If you haven't checked out Leslie McDevitt :)


http://www.cleanrun.com/images/productvideos/CUGamesPreviewClip.wmv

http://www.cleanrun.com/images/productvideos/CU_LookAtThatGameSnitchExample.wmv

http://www.cleanrun.com/images/productvideos/CU_ElfExample.wmv

Control Unleashed is my favourite bible for games to play that harness and reframe the picture.

It's good news actually...now you'll have something more to have fun learning!