Sunday, January 21, 2018

Impulse Control

I taught a fun – but exhausting – workshop yesterday.

The topic was impulse control, or more specifically, “It’s Yer Choice” (IYC); a game and training method developed by Canadian dog trainer and agility phenom, Susan Garrett.

The topic is huge. So huge. The applications of the training are even more huge. You can read about the foundation training of the game, from Susan herself, here.

The application of IYC when it comes to actual dog training is actually simple. Using IYC when training for tricks, obedience, and dogs sports, is actually really easy, and it will get you really great reliable behaviours in training, and in the competition ring.

Where IYC is probably the hardest to apply, is well, real life. Those ‘other’ 23 hours a day we are not in “dog training mode”. Often times too, the not so great behaviours practiced ‘at home’ can actually be a detriment to the formal dog training we do. For example, why is to OK to search the kitchen floor for dropped goodies, but not OK to search the agility field for dropped goodies? If I do see a dog making poor choices in a formal training environment, I am quite sure the handler is allowing that same behaviour to be practices at home.

I’ll be the first to admit my dogs IYC is strong when it comes to dog sports, not so much in the house. Some things are more reliable than others, but I know I can do better. So, my plan is to do better.

For Vixen, I am going to work on barking. She barks at a lot of things, and sometimes no things, so I am going to target three situations in which she predictably barks: using tinfoil, the hair dryer, and knocks at the door.

For Keen, I am going to work on him antagonizing the cats, and Vixen. He is going through a super naughty phase right now so the timing is a little bit perfect.

My plan is to video as many of these set ups as I can, and more, so I can share with you how to use IYC to improve your own dogs behaviour. All these training sessions will carry the tag "IYC at Home" or "IYC in Dog Sports".

Sunday, January 7, 2018

What Options do You See?

I think I am going on to week 8 of (pretty much) continuous illness. Despite being 7 days in to the New Year I have yet to do any meaningful training with my own dogs, despite the best of intentions.

I simply don’t have the energy. Being lazy is one thing, being sick is another. Or maybe I am just making up more excuses.

I did manage to haul my butt out of bed long enough today to attend a class each with Keen and Vixen.

In Keen’s class we worked on driving the line exercises using Crate Games. He really surprised me with his speed and focus. He was so good in fact that Christine upped the challenge and made us put food distractions on our line. Only one oopsie on Keen’s part and then he realized that IYC was at play here too.

In Vixen’s class we ran short sequences that were specifically designed to allow for different handling options on one particular jump. We then timed the different handling options. To my surprise, the handling choice I was sure to be the slowest was in fact the fastest – by a whole second!

What handling choices do you see for Jump #2?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Welcome to 2018

Happy New Year everyone!
Welcome back for the first time to my new old blog!
I have visions – lots of them – and not just because I didn’t sleep AT ALL last night. For the first time ever, January 1st actually felt like the start of something new. Something exciting. Something that held potential for (near) endless possibilities. I am the master of my own destiny.
I have no idea what this blog is to become, all I know is that I want it to grow. In that growth I hope to inspire.  While I cannot hold your hand through your dog/agility training journey – well, actually I can but you have to pay me – I hope to be able to pass on something that will at least inspire YOU to become the master of your own destiny.
I am hoping to post something at least three times a week, however it could actually be as much as everyday. Now all the blog writing tip lists say daily is too much, and that will overwhelm and annoy you, but I say it is a free world and if you don’t like it than you can just unfollow the blog…because this isn’t a mandatory high school senior English class credit that you need to graduate…it’s a FREE blog.