Saturday Afternoon Session Descriptions

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

1:40PM – 3:40PM

Trial Management Techniques

Amy Cook, PhD
Experience Level: All

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!

Joy of Heeling – Construct Games

Julie Flanery
Experience Level: Novice & Above

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.

Building and Maintaining an Agility Start Line

Nancy Gagliardi Little
Experience Level: Novice & Above

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.

Start the Ball Rolling: Intro to Treibball

Melissa Breau
Experience Level: All

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!

Tips and Tricks for Better Rally Scores

Nicole Wiebusch
Experience Level: All

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!

Panel Talk: Arousal in Dog Sports

Denise Fenzi, Sharon Carroll, Loretta Mueller
Experience Level: Lecture Only

Join Denise Fenzi, Sharon Carroll, and Loretta Mueller for a conversation on arousal — guaranteed to be an interesting conversation!

4:00PM – 6:00PM

“Search”—“Alert”—“Find Another”—“Finished”— Search Cues Tune Up

Sarah Owings
Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

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.

Location and Arousal Specific Marker Cues

Shade Whitesel
Experience Level: All

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!

Reinforcement Strategies: Using Pre-placed Rewards in Agility

Megan Foster
Experience Level: All

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.

Advancing Your Platform Training – Step Up to Beyond the Basics

Michele Pouliot
Experience Level: All

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!

Disc Dog Foundation

Sara Brueske
Experience Level: Novice & Above

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!