Clean Run - June 2012 - (Page 28)

Positive Training Routines By Dawn Weaver © WENDI PENCILLE/HORSEFEATHERS PHOTOGRAPHY Let’s look at how we can make your training and competitions positive and enjoyable from the start right through to the finish line. The Start Line I believe the relationship between a handler and his dog is evident from the setup and start-line wait. As a trainer, it begins to put my mind at ease if the handler walks up to a start line with a smile and a relaxed attitude and her dog is bouncing around happily in anticipation of a great time. However, if the dog drags the handler into the ring and the handler’s face and shoulders are tense or if the dog approaches the start line already offering calming signals, (e.g., lip licking, head turning, etc.) you know there is a breakdown in communication and the relationship has suffered because of it. The next defining factor is the actual setup on the start line. Does the handler start nagging the dog or pulling him around trying to get him into the correct position? Dogs nearly always offer calming signals in this instance.Yes, we all need our dogs facing the correct direction at a certain distance from the first jump, but it is the way this is achieved that is important.Agility in its entirety should be enjoyable for my dog and myself, and that includes everything that happens near equipment—including the start-line setup. It isn’t positive if a dog is dragged around by his collar or repeatedly commanded in a stern tone on the start line.You should treat your dog the same at the start of the course as you do at the end. You don’t want to be stressed at the start and then relieved it is over with! But that is the attitude I have seen some handlers convey to their dogs. Dogs always enjoy learning tricks so the setup position should be taught in the same way as any other trick. If I say Close my dogs drive into heel position on the left side of me and likewise if I say Side my dogs drive into heel position on my right side. All I have to do is teach this behavior and then randomly 28 reward it. If we can start the course with something the dog enjoys and has a history of being rewarded for, we are well on the way to achieving maximum enjoyment for our dogs. To teach this I have my dog on a lead and a clicker and treats at the ready. I have the dog stand loosely around me and the lead in the hand on the opposite side from the dog. Then I put the hand nearest the dog around the lead and slide it down toward the dog’s collar—this is shown in the photograph of Breezer. © GRAHAM BRYANT Clean Run | June 12

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - June 2012

Clean Run - June 2012
Editorializing: The Other Bank Account
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility
Backyard Dogs
Awesome Paws Drills: Skills Checklist, Part 3
On the Road Again: Safety Measures for Driving with Your Dog
Challenges for Rising Stars
Proofing Your Dog’s Weave Pole Performance
Knowledge Equals Speed! Positive Training Routines
Analyze This!
Perfecting Nutrition for Performance Dogs
Why Dogs Sniff and What to Do About It
Building Blocks: Building Skills Around the Tunnel
From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers
New & Common Therapies for Treating Injuries in the Canine Athlete
Agility Mind Gym: Visualization
Control Unleashed Solutions and Answers: Shy & Overwhelmed

Clean Run - June 2012