Confusion Kills

This applies to any dog sport, not just agility! A great read from The Cognitive Canine:

The Cognitive Canine

An aversive stimulus is, by definition, something an animal will work to avoid. Trainers who consider themselves “positive” generally try to omit aversive stimuli from their work with dogs. In dog training there are no mystical forces; the dog is either working to gain access to an appetitive stimulus (meat, cheese, tennis ball, latex squeaky things, etc.) or he is working to avoid an aversive stimulus (pressure on the collar, spray of water, shake of penny can, etc.). This is not a new concept, but there is an aversive stimulus that we all need to pay more attention to. It has crept into too many of our training sessions, and you’ve probably experienced its insidious effects. The stimulus is confusion.

confused_dog Confusion: the state of being bewildered or unclear in one’s mind 

There are a few common questions that land in my inbox that almost certainly point to this toxic culprit.

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Engagement: Why the Extremes?

Another great read from Denise Fenzi about true interaction in training to build relationship.

Denise Fenzi

I watch people train dogs for a living.

One thing I see is people silently staring at their dogs, handing over cookies for behaviors they like and withholding cookies for error.  The currency is cookies.

If you use food as your primary commodity for developing a relationship, then you might find your relationship feels very…hollow.  And if I ask you about your lack of sincere interaction, you might tell me that your dog is independent or doesn’t care about you so you don’t bother with it.  That’s certainly possible.  The other possibility is that how you are choosing to interact is creating that disengaged dynamic.

How about starting and ending each training session with some sincere form of interaction that your dog enjoys? It could be a belly rub.  It could be a game of chase.  It could just be happy talk and pleasant eye contact.  Connect.  Not with cookies…

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Classes start up again on Aug. 9th!

To register or for more info send email to Char: dogsontheball@gmail.com

Dates (all Saturdays) are: Aug. 9 and 23, Sept. 6 and 20, Oct. 4 and 18. There will be one make up class offered if anyone has a conflict with some of these dates.

Cost for each 6 week session is $90.00 for non-members, $75.00 for LOAL members. One make up class is allowed for a missed absence. After successful completion of 2 six week sessions you may elect to attend on a drop-in basis, pay per class.

Click here for Class Description and Content

Time: Beginner class will meet from 9:00-10:00AM and Intermediate/Advanced from 10:15-11:15AM. If the class size is small, we will combine all levels into one class and meet from 10:00-11:15.

Prerequisites: Completion of 6 weeks of advanced basic obedience OR CGC OR equivalent-recall, stay, sit, down, etc. are necessary. Most work is off leash. Initially, a long line will be acceptable as long as you have control around other dogs and people. I allow plenty of space and will also put up ring gate barriers when needed.

Trials and Titling info: Live trials are few and far between at the moment, but Treibball is alive and well worldwide via video and the Internet. While titling is certainly not required to enjoy this sport, there are a couple of video titling options at this time for those who wish to pursue it. Titling by video is now available through Wag-It Games Dog Ball and the World Treibball League– each with their own unique version of the sport, but the fundamentals are the same.  I will be happy to facilitate video titling events for anyone in the class that has interest, and we can prepare for these options in class.