Clean Run - March 2011 - (Page 73)

Want the Best Training Results? Then Play! By Jubie Rueschenberg, photos by Travis Russon You are in your first group class and you are not quite sure how your dog will behave. As you look around you notice a lot of undesirable behaviors. You see several dogs that are very distracted by their surroundings and not paying any attention to their handlers. One dog is zooming around playfully while his owner repeatedly asks him to Come (clearly the dog has no intention of obeying the command). Then there is the seemingly well-behaved dog that although he does what his owner requests, lacks enthusiasm and seems to obey reluctantly. Could any of these be a description of your dog? If the answer is yes, then you might want to revamp your training methods. If you are unsure about your training methods, ask yourself: Are your training sessions fun for your dog or are they just about obtaining the desired result? While dogs may not desire to be trained, they do want to play. If you want the best results, you need to consciously make sure your dog plays while you train. A common belief is that if you have obedience training then any agility training method will suffice. That misconception leaves you without the most important aspects of a well-trained dog: a happy, enthusiastic dog that is bonded to you. The most common complaints I hear from people seeking help are that their dog does not stay connected to them and does not enjoy agility. If your dog is not connected and bonded to you or he lacks enthusiasm for agility, maybe your training is lacking the crucial element of play. Yes, you can get your dog to go through the motions of learned behaviors; but if your dog is easily distracted and lacks motivation, the end result will likely not be the desired result. Spice up your trainMarch 11 | Clean Run ing and make sure your dog enjoys the tasks you are asking him to do. It is simple to add play and games during training. Find out what games will help your dog enjoy his time with you above anything else. Playing with your dog not only creates a dog that wants to be with you, but also improves your dog’s learning ability and enhances his performance as well. Putting play into your training program gets better results and it is bonding for the handler and dog team. If you really want the recall that people envy, incorporate play in your training plan and your dog will be forever bonded to you. He will respond with enthusiasm to your requests and look to you for more, knowing there is play to come. simple: just start by watching your dog play. Does your dog interact and play with other dogs? Notice how he plays. Does he make rough physical contact? Does he chase or just like to be chased? Maybe he tosses toys around by himself and pounces on them. Does he tug with other dogs? What types of toys and textures does he seem to prefer? Now that you have the answers to those questions you can create a plan to entice your dog to play. If your dog is a rough and tumble type, he is likely to want you to be physical and make contact with him when you play. You could give him a little push or grab a leg. Some dogs love a good wrestling match. It does not have to be with another dog; they’ll enjoying wrestling with you too. If your dog plays passively, then rough play could shut him down. For passive or submissive dogs play needs to build their confidence so only play as strongly as they are ready to play. If they pull on a toy let them win and have the toy to celebrate their victory. Have another favorite toy in your hand to entice them back to you for more play. 73 How to Get Started If you have never played with your dog it might feel awkward for both of you in the beginning; do not expect it to feel natural overnight. But with time and conscious effort, training with play can become second nature and you can achieve the end result that you have always wanted. The beginning is

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - March 2011

Clean Run - March 2011
Editorializing: Go Get the Dog
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Who Needs a Training Partner?
Difficult Students, Difficult Dogs, Happy Endings
Ready, Set, Trial! Volunteering at Agility Trials
The Breeders Behind the Dogs
Working on Stimulus Control
Teaching FOCUS and Impulse-Control Classes: Introduction
Power Paws Drills: Long Way, Short Way
Help for Heel Pain: The Facts About Plantar Fasciitis, Part 1
Hydrotherapy for the Canine Athlete
Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Seminar Dollar
When Pigs Fly: You Can Do It
You Know Your Dog Is Aggressive If... Part 5
Want the Best Training Results? Then Play!
Challenges for Rising Stars

Clean Run - March 2011