Friday Morning Session Descriptions

Working teams will each choose one morning and one afternoon lab during registration.

9:15 – 11:45

Dealing with Judge Pressure! Lab with Amy Cook: Experience Level – All

You’ve trained hard, have your heeling all set, your dog is engaged … uh oh. Where’d that judge come from?  Why is he following us? Lots of dogs are proximity sensitive and aren’t comfortable with being directly approached, followed or crowded by strangers (especially strangers with clipboards and hats!). Some dogs want to rush to greet anyone within a 10 foot radius!  In this lab, we’ll go over things you can do to help your dog be comfortable with these “strange” judge behaviors and not feel the need to keep an eye on them, and help those greeters learn that judges are boring, and you are best!

Start Button Behaviors Lab with Sarah Stremming: Experience Level – All

Understand consent-based training by producing a loop of reinforcement that involves an “opt-in” behavior from your dog. Learn about “consent to another rep” vs. “consent to a ring routine” start buttons.

Stand By Lab with Shade Whitesel: Experience Level – All

We love that breakthrough moment, when the dog figures out that their motions make us click. Trainers get reinforced because it’s so cool when our dogs do that! And … on and on, to shaping heaven, until you’re preparing to trial and there is a moment of stillness and suddenly the dog starts offering all the things! Join Shade as we teach our dogs the difference between verbal stimulus control sessions and offering/shaping sessions. We’ll teach them that stillness, (a stand by/stand and wait behavior), is a good thing, and how to add a cue to shaped behaviors without the frustration of waiting through an extinction burst of “all the things.”

Agility Motivation Games Lab with Loretta Mueller: Experience Level – All

Motivation Games: In this session we will discuss some motivation issues, why it happens and what you can do about it. We will go over several games to help unleash your dog’s inner feral beast. Fun games = Drive!

Tricks with Purpose Lab with Sara Brueske: Experience Level – All

Tricks aren’t just for fun anymore! This lab will focus on training tricks that offer more than meets the eye. Each of the tricks taught is specially picked for improving body awareness, developing critical thinking skills or for strengthening specific muscle groups. Sara will talk about looking deeper into behaviors traditionally taught for entertainment to see how they can help you reach your training goals. Join us and see what tricks are hidden up our sleeves; you won’t be disappointed!

Nosework – Super Start Lines Lab with Stacy Barnett: Experience Level – Novice and Above

Did you know that searches are made or lost at the start line? How you approach the start line will have a massive effect on the ultimate outcome of your search.  What’s more, how you practice your start lines will have a drastic impact on each and every search you do in competition. In this lab we will determine your dog’s natural arousal state and will work on diagnosing issues and modifying your dog’s arousal state so that you will end up with the most effective search. Dogs in working spots should already be introduced to odor.

11:00 – 12:30

Hocus, Pocus! Attention & Focus Lab with Julie Flanery:  Experience Level – All

The things we need the most are the things we train the least.  Without attention and focus (Yep! They are two different things!) it is more difficult to reach our performance and behavior goals. These skills are the cement that hold our performances together and can mean the difference between a rock solid performance and just getting by.  In this session you will practice games and exercises that increase both attention to the handler and focus on the task. It’s not magic, it’s training!

Ring Confidence Lab with Denise Fenzi:  Experience Level – All

If you don’t make a conscious effort to make the competition ring a fantastic place, it’s very easy to inadvertently teach your dog that outside the ring is where the food and toys are and inside the ring is pressure and stress! The purpose of this lab is to show you how to reverse that so that your dog is practically dragging you into the ring, ready and eager to begin work and play with you!  Denise will also introduce the handler to several skills that they will want to teach to make their future in competition both productive and rewarding.

Energy Games Lab with Nancy Gagliardi Little:  Experience Level – All

Training and competing with your dog is demanding and can deplete energy and focus – even with dogs that have lots of energy. It’s important to be able to balance the precision and focus your dog gives you in training with games that keep them excited and energetic. In this lab, we’ll look at games you can add to your training to help keep the energy level and focus at optimal levels in your dog.

Reinforcement Strategies for Agility Lab with Megan Foster:  Experience Level – All

Clean up your agility training loops! Rewarding from your hand versus on the line versus pre-placed at the obstacle makes a big impact on the dog’s performance. Come learn how to teach the strategies, choose the optimal strategy, and how to progress each strategy from micro-skill to advanced coursework.

Shaping Retrieves Lab with Deb Jones:  Experience Level – All

This lab will focus on the process of shaping to introduce and improve your dog’s formal retrieve.  Deb will be splitting the retrieve behavior into tiny parts to isolate any problem areas.  Dogs at all levels of the retrieve, including the very beginning steps, are welcome.  Dogs in working spots should be highly food motivated.  Bring a retrieve object for your dog to work with in this lab.

Fitness Foundations Lab with Lori Stevens:  Experience Level – All

Fitness is important for your dog’s health and doing fitness exercises with your dog is fun and enriching for both of you! These foundation exercises increase muscle strength and improve performance, confidence, flexibility, focus, body awareness, and balance. We will focus on getting foundation behaviors for fitness and learning how to observe posture and encourage proper alignment. You will also learn how to introduce canine fitness equipment.