Clean Run - June 2012 - 66

So his feelings about seeing these triggers change and he no longer reacts badly upon seeing them, but just automatically turns to you saying, “I found one! I am so smart!” This game is actually a targeting game too: rather than a touch target (we never want the dog to go up to one of these social triggers like a strange person or dog, no touching allowed here!) it is a visual target. The dog looks at the thing and then immediately back to you to collect his finder’s fee. So it’s a visual target of trigger paired with a visual target of handler.

“escape.” The more the dog is given what he wants and needs, the better worker he will become. This reminds me of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that was brought to a CU seminar I gave; she was too shy to come out of her crate when it was her turn in the ring. I put her crate inside the ring and encouraged her to come out and as soon as she did, I clicked and threw a treat back into her crate. She went back and forth like this a bunch of times and then felt comfortable enough that she offered to stay out in the ring and work. Many trainers would have taken her into the ring and not brought in the crate, but I knew that she would feel better with her security blanket nearby and that we could use access to it as part of her reward.

Use Your Reinforcement Wisely
Shy dogs tend to be more sensitive. If working near strangers or moving into the center of the room causes them to feel pressured, then a potent reinforcement for good behavior would be to walk them away back toward their station. Rather than giving the dog treats and forcing him to stand next to the stranger, reward him with social distance by moving the dog away from the stranger. Then give the dog an extra reward of a treat on top of that. If moving into the work space causes concern, go a few steps into that space—I would take the dog to a mat so he knows he is going somewhere specific with familiar rules—and then take the dog back to his station, rather than making him stay in the more challenging space. The more you reward with relief, the better your dog will feel about staying in that more challenging space. You don’t want to force the dog to work when he isn’t feeling up for it; ask for what he can give and reward with what the dog really wants—for a shy dog that could be

In Conclusion
We talk a lot about ways to use targets in Control Unleashed and Control Unleashed: The Puppy Program. Here I have laid out a few ways to use targets to help a shy dog feel more comfortable about working in class—and the same exact structure can be applied to trials. I prefer outdoor trials because my tent serves as my dogs’ station. I also have a mini-station with a folding chair and treats set up outside the ring so my dogs know exactly where we’re going upon exiting after a run. Shy dogs like things to be predictable and spelled out for them so that they feel secure. Targeting is one way of helping them navigate a space and deal with seeing “stuff” that may otherwise take away their confidence. D

Leslie McDevitt, MLA, CPDT, CDBC is a dog behavior consultant and agility enthusiast who lives with her pack near Philadelphia. Leslie specializes in behavior modification for stressed and reactive performance dogs and is the author of the popular books Control Unleashed: Creating a Focused and Confident Dog and Control Unleashed: The Puppy Program from Clean Run Productions.

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Clean Run - June 2012

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

Clean Run - June 2012
Contents
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 - Clean Run - June 2012
Clean Run - June 2012 - 2
Clean Run - June 2012 - Contents
Clean Run - June 2012 - 4
Clean Run - June 2012 - Editorializing: The Other Bank Account
Clean Run - June 2012 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run - June 2012 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility
Clean Run - June 2012 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run - June 2012 - 9
Clean Run - June 2012 - Awesome Paws Drills: Skills Checklist, Part 3
Clean Run - June 2012 - 11
Clean Run - June 2012 - 12
Clean Run - June 2012 - On the Road Again: Safety Measures for Driving with Your Dog
Clean Run - June 2012 - 14
Clean Run - June 2012 - 15
Clean Run - June 2012 - 16
Clean Run - June 2012 - 17
Clean Run - June 2012 - Challenges for Rising Stars
Clean Run - June 2012 - 19
Clean Run - June 2012 - 20
Clean Run - June 2012 - Proofing Your Dog’s Weave Pole Performance
Clean Run - June 2012 - 22
Clean Run - June 2012 - 23
Clean Run - June 2012 - 24
Clean Run - June 2012 - 25
Clean Run - June 2012 - 26
Clean Run - June 2012 - 27
Clean Run - June 2012 - Knowledge Equals Speed! Positive Training Routines
Clean Run - June 2012 - 29
Clean Run - June 2012 - 30
Clean Run - June 2012 - 31
Clean Run - June 2012 - Analyze This!
Clean Run - June 2012 - 33
Clean Run - June 2012 - 34
Clean Run - June 2012 - 35
Clean Run - June 2012 - 36
Clean Run - June 2012 - 37
Clean Run - June 2012 - 38
Clean Run - June 2012 - 39
Clean Run - June 2012 - Perfecting Nutrition for Performance Dogs
Clean Run - June 2012 - 41
Clean Run - June 2012 - 42
Clean Run - June 2012 - 43
Clean Run - June 2012 - Why Dogs Sniff and What to Do About It
Clean Run - June 2012 - 45
Clean Run - June 2012 - 46
Clean Run - June 2012 - 47
Clean Run - June 2012 - 48
Clean Run - June 2012 - 49
Clean Run - June 2012 - 50
Clean Run - June 2012 - Building Blocks: Building Skills Around the Tunnel
Clean Run - June 2012 - 52
Clean Run - June 2012 - 53
Clean Run - June 2012 - 54
Clean Run - June 2012 - From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers
Clean Run - June 2012 - New & Common Therapies for Treating Injuries in the Canine Athlete
Clean Run - June 2012 - 57
Clean Run - June 2012 - 58
Clean Run - June 2012 - Agility Mind Gym: Visualization
Clean Run - June 2012 - 60
Clean Run - June 2012 - 61
Clean Run - June 2012 - Control Unleashed Solutions and Answers: Shy & Overwhelmed
Clean Run - June 2012 - 63
Clean Run - June 2012 - 64
Clean Run - June 2012 - 65
Clean Run - June 2012 - 66
Clean Run - June 2012 - 67
Clean Run - June 2012 - 68
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