Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 62

Does the photo at left strike dread into your heart? For scent hounds, sniffing is a compelling activity that appears to take up every fiber of their being. No matter what you do, your scent hound is always going to be thinking about sniffing. Your choice is: do you want him to be thinking about how to get away from you so he can sneak in some sniffing, or do you want him to be thinking about how to do something for you so you will allow him to do some sniffing in return? Because this Beagle knows he can earn the opportunity to sniff in exchange for jumping a jump, he is more than happy to pick his nose up off the ground and work with me. The Keeper of the Keys Control of Reinforcers Now that you have a list of your dog’s hot reinforcers, you are going to work on the “C” in ICE. Control the hot activities so that your dog can only get them from you. Think of those hot reinforcers as cash. Imagine you walk into a bank and money is just lying around all over the place with a big sign, “Free for the Taking.” When you walked into that bank, would you stand in line and wait to use a cash machine to take money from your own account? Of course not. You would just pick up the cash on the floor. If, on the other hand, the only way you could get money was to wait in line, put your debit card in the cash machine, punch some buttons, and then get cash from your account, you would readily perform those behaviors because you had no option. What we want to do is pick up all that “money” that is lying around in your dog’s world, and put it into the cash machine that you control—you. The hot reinforcers are the cash, and you are the cash machine. The dog has to punch the correct buttons to get some money. Some reinforcers, like food and toys, are easy to control because you can take physical control of them. It becomes more complicated when your dog’s hot reinforcers are behaviors like sniffing or running around. You cannot physically control these activities, so you need to take the time to control them by putting them on cue. Sniffing in particular is an activity that brings agility competitors much grief but is invaluable as a reinforcer when put on cue. All dogs enjoy sniffing to a greater or lesser degree, and it is very good to have sniffing available as a reward you can have with you and use anytime, anywhere. If you have a scent hound, putting sniffing on cue should be your first order of business. 62 Be creative about your reinforcers and if your dog gets really excited about something, find a way to incorporate it into your training sessions. I keep a kiddie pool just outside my training yard. I have a couple of students whose dogs just live to go swimming and after a particularly good sequence, the dog is released to go swimming. The entire training session is now infused with the delicious possibility that swimming may just be around the corner. When we put behaviors that a dog likes (such as sniffing or swimming) on cue, we can have them available as rewards to offer our dogs for agility behaviors, such as doing perfect weave poles. That is all very well and good, but what is to keep the dog from doing those reinforcing activities whenever he darn well pleases? Fortunately, once a dog has a behavior on cue, he will tend to offer it only when cued to do so. It doesn’t seem possible, but it is a well-known fact and almost always is true. If your dog keeps indulging in a behavior that is interfering with agility (like sniffing, zooming around, or jumping up in the air and barking at squirrels), get those behaviors on cue and give your dogs lots of opportunities to do them in exchange for well-performed behaviors. You will be amazed at how quickly the “problem” behaviors disappear. So, insofar as possible, everything that your dog loves needs to be physically controlled by you, and/or put on cue. In addition, you need to restrict your dog’s ability to self-reinforce. How much management is necessary to do this will all depend on what reinforcers you are using and where your dog is in his training program. For instance, most of my dogs find balls, squeaky toys, and stuffed toys highly valuable. Those toys are only available to them as rewards for doing agility. They have other toys that are available to them all the time so that they can play casually with me or among themselves, but the important toys are reserved for training. When we are talking about restricting access to behaviors as opposed to food or toys, the situation becomes more complicated, because you can’t carry “sniffing” or “running around” in your pocket. You need to make sure that when you take your dog out for a training session, he is not self-reinforcing by sniffing, play-lunging at other dogs, eating poop, digging a hole, or whatever else he finds interesting. This means that until you have reliable attention from your dog and his hot activities are on cue and under your control, you do what you have to do to make his world small enough so you control everything. Piggy Pointer: I do not recommend correcting or punishing your dog for doing something you do not want him to do. You don’t want to dilute your dog’s interest in any particular activity by punishing it; you just don’t give him the opportunity to do it without permission. Putting aside the usual arguments against punishment, it is plain inefficient to spend time and effort punishing behaviors that could be perfectly useful as reinforcers, and then scrambling to teach your dog to like “conventional” reinforcers, such as tugging, in which he might not have a natural interest. The easiest way to control your dog’s world is to physically restrict your dog from activities until you release him (work him on a leash or long line). When you take a green dog to a match or new practice venue, work your dog on leash, if necessary, to keep him from self-reinforcing with all that Clean Run | April 08

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - April 2008

Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Contents
Editorializing: Dog Friends Are the Best Friends
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Starting Your Pup Off on the “Right” Foot for Jumping
Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 2
Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style: Direction Cues
Trainer’s Forum
Tent Ownership Dos and Don’ts
Foundation Fundamentals: Teaching Agility Cues
Skill of the Month
Say Yes to the Learning Curve: Starting as a Team, Part 1
Classes Gone Wild
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Powering Up the Rear Legs
Spy Kids: Rules for Access and Off-Leash Control
When Pigs Fly: How to Use Your Dog’s Natural Behaviors to Train Him
Shelter Champs: Reno
The Art of Electronic Timing
Power Paws Patterns: Number Four
Jump Down Syndrome Traumatic fragmented Medial
Conquering Ring Nerves: Want to Remember the Course? Focus!
In Cider
Agility Organization Update
Letter to the Editor
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Editorializing: Dog Friends Are the Best Friends
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Starting Your Pup Off on the “Right” Foot for Jumping
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 2
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 22
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style: Direction Cues
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 29
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Tent Ownership Dos and Don’ts
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 36
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Teaching Agility Cues
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 43
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Say Yes to the Learning Curve: Starting as a Team, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 46
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Classes Gone Wild
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 52
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Powering Up the Rear Legs
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Spy Kids: Rules for Access and Off-Leash Control
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 57
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - When Pigs Fly: How to Use Your Dog’s Natural Behaviors to Train Him
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Shelter Champs: Reno
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - The Art of Electronic Timing
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 69
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Power Paws Patterns: Number Four
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Jump Down Syndrome Traumatic fragmented Medial
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 77
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 79
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Conquering Ring Nerves: Want to Remember the Course? Focus!
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 82
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - In Cider
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 84
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 85
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 86
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Agility Organization Update
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 88
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 89
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 91
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 92
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