Day 2: Saturday, Oct. 7
Having a problem with an Open or Utility exercise? Do you need help with handling for Open or Utility?
In this session, Nancy will help you one-on-one with any Open or Utility level obedience exercise.
Pocket hand is a way of teaching heeling that allows your dog to use the angle and position of your hand to develop and maintain an exceptionally precise heel position.
You’ve heard people talking about “pocket hand” for heeling, and now you get to see it in action! This technique will work just as well for retraining a 10-year-old dog as starting an eight-week-old puppy.
If you’d like to learn more about using pocket hand, join Denise in this lecture and lab and have your dog heeling with finesse in no time!
Working spots: Should be just starting out with this technique – if you already have advanced pocket hand heeling skills, and need some troubleshooting, sign up for the heeling problem-solving lab!
Do you struggle with getting your dog to turn? In this session we will work on how to go from extension to collection.
What exactly IS the perfect turn? And how to teach your dog that turning is FUN!
Every consequence we choose in training is there to motivate behavior change, but did you know it also inspires emotion at the same time? In fact, that’s why they work! Emotion underlies all of your training, and that’s not optional – Pavlov is always sitting on your shoulder!
In this lecture, I’ll go over Conditioned Emotional Responses (CERs), what the quadrants feel like, why that matters, and how to keep your dog in the “happy bucket” and out of the “yucky bucket.” You have heard me say “every time you teach your dog what to do, you’re teaching them how to feel,” right? What emotional responses are you conditioning?
Disc dog freestyle, Tricks, Distractions, Obedience and secondary obedience for protection sports or whatever you would like!
Join Sara for some one-on-one time to work on whichever skill you need.
Targets are a great way to communicate criteria, often doing so more quickly and accurately than shaping or luring. Targeting is a previously trained behavior that is used to convey criteria for a new behavior.
In this session you’ll learn how to use a variety of targets to isolate movement, maintain stillness, speed your dog’s understanding of both broad and nuanced behaviors, and transfer to a new verbal cue.
As the sport of dog agility evolves, more and more handlers are turning to reliance on verbal cues to guide their dog on the course. While they are a very useful part of any communication system, verbal cues are the hardest handling element for dogs to understand and are even harder to learn when paired with our natural physical cues.
During this working session, students will work through different generalization tasks that build fluency with any task and learn how to introduce discrimination to two known behaviors.
Working teams will plan sessions based on equipment available, but the skills can also be practiced with marker cues, and other behaviors that are primarily on verbal cue.
Trainers don’t always take “trick” behaviors seriously, but trick behaviors are a powerful method of motivating handlers and learners of all levels.
Ask anyone what a “trick behavior” is and the response will likely be similar to:
- “Behaviors that are fun to train!”
- “Behaviors that are fun for the learner.”
- “Something entertaining to watch.”
- “An unusual behavior put on cue.”
- “Behaviors not taken seriously by the trainer.”
Successful trick training requires the same effective skills that more commonly trained behaviors require. In many cases, training a trick behavior can require handlers to use tools they have never (or rarely) used before. This often increases the handlers’ overall skills.
Michele Pouliot began training trick behaviors when she first discovered clicker training in 1999. Although her career prompted Michele to develop a very serious use of clicker training for guide dogs for the blind, she believes that her deep experiences with training tricks are most responsible for her personal development as a positive reinforcement trainer. Why? Trick training provides variety for both the trainer and the learner. Variety prompts more creativity in training decisions and keeps training sessions more interesting.
Trick training is not “assembly-line training.” It continues to bring something new and stimulating to a learner’s repertoire and expands the training skills of the teacher. The intrinsic results are eagerness from the learner and continued enthusiasm for training in general for the trainer.
Join Michele for this enjoyable presentation to learn how trick training can help motivate trainers and learners and result in more joyful training sessions for everyone involved.
A creative hands on workshop developed by Barbara Lloyd the creator of “The Nimue Box Challenge” to test your dog’s ability to problem solve!
This workshop will consist of a series of Cognitive Challenges that range from easy to varying degrees of complexity. The main goal of the lab will be helping your understand how your dog reasons through how to solve a challenge and access a reward.
We will also discuss your dog’s learning style in contrast to your learning style and how that impacts your training sessions with your dog, as well as how to improve your training sessions with your dog via a better understanding of how your dog processes information and problems solves.
Decoding what your dog is telling you as they work through the challenges will be discussed in depth in order to give you a better understanding of how to harness your dog’s skills to train more efficiently.
This workshop is suitable for puppies and dogs all the way up to adulthood.
For young dogs and sensitive dogs this workshop help build resiliency, grit, and confidence. Adult dogs will gain more sustained focus and thoughtfulness.
Participants will be instructed on how to set up the challenges and then allow their dog time to solve the challenge.
Each participant can choose how much assistance to give their dog, and part of the class will be outlining and discussing why or why not you choose to simplify the task for your dog.
As the instructor I will give you feedback on what I see your dog doing, how to play to your dog’s strengths, how to improve a particular problem solving skill and how to make this relevant in other areas of training.
Ha ha, got a dog who won’t stay still?
Shade loves stays! In her own words “I am the eye contact and down stay queen. I think knowledge of stillness and stays are so important for our dog’s mental health, even if our sports don’t require it. “
Leave your dogs in the crating area for the short lecture where we’ll go over techniques, different kinds of stays, different emotions, etc… Then we’ll get the dogs out, and practice!
Come equipped with a towel, or blanket if you want, to make it easier for your training.
When dogs respond to odor, they are following dovetailing pathways through the air that humans cannot see. Becoming more attuned to this secret world requires close observation of body language. Can you tell what type of hide your dog is working long before he actually tells you where it is? How soon in a search can you recognize the telltale signs of a ground hide, an inaccessible hide, converging hides, or a high hide?
In this session we are going to test different types of hide placements and let the dogs teach us about what the odor is doing. Dogs should already be on odor, and familiar with multi-hide searches in novel environments.
Before we commence a training session, start the next exercise, or enter a competition space, we want to know that our dog feels ready to undertake the task ahead.
In order to be ready to give their full focus to us and the task, our dog needs to feel safe in that space, they need to have previously built the skills needed to ignore the distractions in that space, and they need to have a desire to participate with us and engage in the task. When these requirements have not been fulfilled, we will find ourselves having to compete for our dog’s attention.
Having to compete for a dog’s attention is not fun, and ultimately leads to frustration for both the dog and the handler. Continuing to ask for “work” from a dog that is disengaged, distracted, and/or frustrated may result in:
- Missed cues
- Anticipated cues
- Slow responses
- Incorrectly performed behaviors/exercises
- Looking away from us and the task
- Stalling / hesitating
- Leaving us to “visit” other people / dogs
- Leaving us to investigate objects / pieces of equipment
- Attempts to escape the training/competition space
- Performing displacement behaviors (e.g. scratching, self-grooming, sniffing the ground, etc.)
Ensuring we only ask our dog to work when they feel ready requires accurate assessment, not only at the start of the work but on an ongoing basis throughout the session.
But what do we do if we assess our dog’s readiness to work at some point and they indicate they are not ready? These are the times we need a systematic protocol for influencing our dog’s readiness to work. The steps in this system help our dog to dissipate excess arousal, calm their emotions, and re-focus their thoughts. At this point we can then accurately reassess the best course of action in each instance.
In this session we will cover:
- Strategies that allow us to accurately assess our dog’s readiness to work, both initially and on an ongoing basis throughout a session
- Methods for assessing what caused a deterioration in focus/work during a session or whilst at a competition
- Strategies for influencing readiness to work, both prior to starting work and at any point where we notice a deterioration in focus/work
Working spots: To gain the most out of this session participants need to have at least a few simple skills/behaviors that are reliable in a “boring” environment (i.e. they do not have to be reliable in the camp environment). Dogs with high level competition skills are also welcome. If your dog is almost 100% reliable performing all behaviors in a “big” environment, then it is unlikely you will gain enough value from a working spot in this session, but may still find the information to be a useful addition to your existing toolbox.
Being in a trial environment often means being in a novel location with a lot more stimulation and distractions than you might usually see. Even the most seasoned dog can sometimes need your support and advocacy! You’ll need to be able to navigate busy, high arousal environments, prevent their social engagement with others, and keep their boundaries maintained so that the stress stays low.
In this lab we’ll practice some movement strategies and mental-game techniques to keep your dog able to cope with higher stress situations or close proximity to others, while staying connected to you. Join Amy to learn some tricks to traverse crowded areas with connection (magnet moves!) and games to keep their attention as other things pass by!
What is your ideal picture of beautiful heelwork? It likely includes words like precision and accuracy. Does it go beyond that to include enthusiasm, energy, lift, spark and joy? These are the attributes that make heelwork beautiful to behold, exciting to train and yes! Fun for both dog and handler!
By building animation, energy and enthusiasm as a separate piece from precision we can increase the rate of reward for each, creating value and joy in our heelwork training and performance. This session will focus on games and exercises that bring joy to your heelwork training and performance. Teams should have an understanding of heel position.
One of the most common agility skills that handlers struggle with during their dog’s career is remaining in position at the first obstacle of the course until they are released. Why does that happen? In this session, Nancy will help you build a good training foundation on this skill. You will also learn how to clean up your handling and release cues so that skill is preserved during your dog’s entire career.
Want to build your distance control and connection with your dog while participating in a great new sport? Or maybe you’ve always been fascinated by herding, but don’t have sheep. Check out Treibball!
Sometimes called “ball herding” or “urban herding,” treibball is a cross between billiards and soccer that you play with your dog. It’s perfect for a dog who is retired from other sports, dogs new to the sports world, or reactive dogs (since most venues restrict access to the competition field).
During this lab, we’ll cover the basic rules of the game and the foundation skills to get you started! Come learn about this relatively new dog sport!
Join Denise Fenzi, Sharon Carroll, and Loretta Mueller for a conversation on arousal — guaranteed to be an interesting conversation!
Handler errors are the most common reason for losing points in Rally, but achieving higher scores is easier than you might think!
This Rally session will teach you effective strategies, techniques, and tips that you can practice today to boost your score at the next event. By making minor changes in your handling, and with a little bit of education, you will see instant improvements in your competition behaviors. By the end of the session, you will have a better understanding of how to improve your scores and be better equipped to compete in future rally events.
Even if you’re just starting out in Rally, you can get ahead of the game by learning these tips before entering your first competition.
If you want to take your rally game to the next level, join Nicole for this session!
From the moment you say “search” to everything that happens after you call “finished,” you and your dog are continuously responding to a stream of cues—both from the environment and from each other. Your dog is in charge of following the odor cue, but his job can either be helped or hindered by you. How clear are you really at your end of the leash? Are you sending conflicting signals and creating uncertainty? Or are you supporting your dog’s work?
In this session we’ll be looking at common communication glitches that happen in searches, such as confusion about repayment at hides, exactly when and how reinforcement is going to happen, or ending searches abruptly in a way that may be confusing or demotivating. Dogs should already be on odor, with some experience searching for multiple hides.
Wonder what all this fuss is about marker cues? Why complicate it? The dog gets reinforced, right?
Join Shade as she covers what marker/reinforcement cues are and why you might expand beyond a clicker/yes/general marker cue. We’ll get all the humans out without dogs to practice timing and human behaviors (make sure you can leave your dog alone in the crating area for the first part of this lab!) and then every dog/handler team gets a couple chances to practice as well.
Beginners and advanced students welcome!
Ready to add a frequently overlooked training tool to your toolbox? Pre-placed rewards have an endless application to our agility training including:
– building obstacle focus and independence
– increasing speed
– adding elements of discrimination to all tasks
– proofing obstacle behaviors
– teaching dogs to prioritize multiple cues at once
– using a more ring sustainable reward solution
In this working session, teams will take two approaches to get started using pre-placed rewards and learn how to continue applying this skill to different agility skills. This lab is appropriate for teams of all levels, even if you’ve never trained this skill before. Each team will progress to the next level during their working time with Megan.
Since Michele’s first Platform Training DVD in 2010, trainers around the world have discovered the power and simplicity of this training tool. What began with Michele’s development of specific platform-training methods has evolved to an international platform phenomenon. Over the past 23 years, Michele has continued to discover and expand the versatility of raised platforms as very effective training tools.
Are you up-to-date on all the creative ways trainers are using raised platforms?
Do you have difficulty in removing platforms from a behavior in training?
Join Michele Pouliot for this lab that goes beyond the basic use of raised platforms as training tools!
Pet-dog training challenges amateur owners to train management skills in their dogs effectively. Competitive dog sports challenge the trainer to develop precision behaviors for a variety of scenarios. Platforms offer strong communication tools for our “teaching conversations” with our dogs in both scenarios.
This working lab assumes that the audience has a basic knowledge of how to use raised platforms (both 2-paw and 4-paw platforms) for training foundation skills. Although some fundamental information will be included, this LAB will focus on more advanced, effective, and creative ways of applying the platform tool for training and problem-solving. Watch Michele coach teams as they move through platform skills.
Working your dog? Feel welcomed to bring whatever raised platforms you use to train and join in the platform fun!
Join this informative session and learn powerful platform techniques from Michele Pouliot, the original “platform guru.” Experience how platforms are a “must-have” tool in any trainer’s toolbox. This lab is sure to give you some light-bulb moments!
Does your dog love toys? Let’s turn that toy drive into disc drive!
This lab will focus on the foundation skills needed to compete in a disc dog competition. You will learn how to properly throw a disc, how to teach your dog to bring the disc back, as well as flat work for strategy games and freestyle. Come get your disc dog on and see what one of the fastest growing dog sports is all about!