Competitive Obedience

Competition obedience is my first love in dog sports, and this is great read from Denise Fenzi. Reasons to train and build relationship with competition obedience! I highly recommend checking out the Fenzi TEAM Titling program! http://www.fenziteamtitles.com/

Denise Fenzi

Originally published on Facebook:

My preferred dog sport is competitive obedience. The sport is struggling right now and various powers-that-be are working to make it, in theory, more appealing. How might we get there?

Making dog sports easier is not going to solve the problem of new people not coming into the sport. Adding food, allowing talking, and keeping dogs on leash is not going to solve the problem. Removing stays is not going to solve the problem. Blaming whatever training method you don’t approve of certainly won’t work. Adding more levels between titles might help a little, mostly because trainers will break their work down more.

At the end of the day, the dog sport’s underlying training culture is the issue. Obedience is perceived as unkind, unwelcoming, inflexible, stuck in the dark ages, and too difficult. If that does not change, then the issues will continue.

People need to…

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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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