Thursday, November 19, 2009
Random training thoughts
YIKES, it has been a very busy couple of days with a lot of running around to do. I had a ton of driving to do yesterday and a lot of time to zone out and think.
I was thinking about the class Liz had a week ago with Deanna. The focus on this class was contacts, and I have taken this particular class and done this course with Breeze and with Chloe, but I think this class brought on one of the biggest light bulb moments I have had with my training.
One thing is that Deanna always has said since we were in beginners that WE ARE DOG TRAINERS, WHAT???? I had never thought that before because I had not at the time worked and got paid for training dogs.....but she is right, she is the instructor and helps us, but WE ARE THE DOG TRAINERS. Fancy that, I am a dog trainer. LOL.
In handlers plus-which is Lizzie's class level right now...there is a homework assignment which very few people usually end up doing, but I think that homework has taught me sooooo much and really helped me be a much better trainer. The homework assignment is to simple write down your criteria, in detail, EXACTLY what you would like your contact performance to look like, so usually there should be one for the dog walk, one for the Aframe and one for the teeter. I put down how I want the dog to enter the obstacle, how they should go over it, the speed, where they are looking, when they should break stride, how they should go over the apex, and exactly what it should look like when they get to the end, should they be looking at me or looking low, how should their weight be shifted, what releases them off the obstacle. ANYWAY, so the light bulb part of doing that was that I realized that training is so much more productive and goes so much easier and faster if you have a very, very detailed picture of what you want in the end. You know what bits and pieces to not reinforce and you know what bits and pieces to encourage and the end product is a lot cleaner and the dog is way more sure of their job. Deanna is the most awesome instructor for being able to break things down and to really teach at a very basic level, these are basic rules for this, basic rules for that, there are so many things that when I go to a trial and am a little confused about say where exactly to put a front cross--I can stop a lot of times and think what are the five rules of a front cross....hummm, and then all of a sudden it becomes clear. I tell you I have been soooo lucky to have such wonderful instructors--so very lucky.