Rewarding Errors

In training for sports I believe that we must always be mindful and prioritize that “want to” factor and positive emotional response in our dogs. First and foremost, this is fundamental to our relationship. And secondly, if we have not nurtured that feeling in training, sooner or later it will show up in the performance. This is especially true with soft and sensitive dogs, the mold in which all 3 of my current dogs fit. An ounce of prevention may well be worth a pound of cure, and definitely worth consideration as written here by the always insightful Denise Fenzi. Rewarding errors, at least to a limited degree, may well be a key to keeping  our dogs in the game and enhance learning! Read on…

Denise Fenzi

Obedience and agility require different behaviors, but both sports share some basic challenges that create grief for handlers.

Both sports require focus and impulse control without a leash and with significant distractions present.  Agility competitors struggle to maintain connection when the dog is working at a distance under speed, often with a good deal of excitement going on in the rings around them.  Obedience competitors struggle to maintain connection when the dog is working under the pressure of silence and formality for long stretches of time.  And both sports require a balance between handler connection and exercise (or object) focus.

Yet, the culture of the two sports is quite different in a fundamental way.  Agility handlers are trained to take responsibility for their dog’s failures (they are directed to change THEIR behavior), and obedience handlers generally hold the dog responsible (they are directed to change THE DOG’s behavior).  Which is not…

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