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".