Clean Run - July 2012 - (Page 30)

· · · Inability to look at the handler (can’t tear his eyes away from the motion) Inability to sit or hold a stay or respond to simple cues Again, feel free to add your own to this list! ies is very helpful for clarifying how to earn reinforcement. Sadly, many people think that rules and boundaries will diminish drive. This is simply not the case—clear paths to reinforcement are the easiest ways to build focus, motivation, and passion for teamwork. I understand that changing the dog’s lifestyle is no easy task—not only might it mean you need to stop trialing or doing drills in class, but it likely also means that you will need to restructure your dog’s life at home. However, the upfront investment of this effort will lead to massive improvements and the dog will eventually have a fuller, richer life than he did before the training. on that: first, self-control will actually increase drive and motivation for agility since it teaches the dog how to earn reinforcement by playing the game. Second, all the drive and motivation in the world are useless if the dog cannot tear himself away from distractions. I have outlined the self-control games in my article “Teaching Your Dog to Choose Self-control” in the CR Special Focus Issue on Motivation, Drive, and Self-control,” as well as discussed them in my article, “Why Dogs Sniff,” in CR June 2012. For the over-aroused dog, begin with the self-control games away from any of his triggers or distractions. As the dog masters the basics, you can add the triggers that begin to stimulate arousal. Reward the dog for choosing self-control in the face of these triggers, as you carefully ramp up the intensity of the triggers and arousal. Remember to be in control of your reinforcement. If you ask the dog to play tug, be sure to get him to play with you, even if for just a few seconds. Remember to end the game before he quits (see “How to Play With Your Inner Naughty Dog” in my article “Embrace Your Dog’s ‘Inner Naughty’ to Build Tug Drive” in CR May 2012). If he is having a lot of trouble engaging with you and the toy, move him further from the distraction or trigger until he can engage. For some highly aroused dogs, you will need to move hundreds of feet away from the trigger, or even outside the building! Distance is fine though—go as far away as you need to in order to get the dog to engage. Also, if you ask your dog to eat a treat, do not allow him to spit it out or turn his head away (this is surprisingly common in over-aroused dogs). I never force the dog to eat the treat, nor do I shove it in his mouth. I simply offer the treat again and again, moving further from the distraction until he eats it. (My criteria for this is that the dog must swallow— many dogs will put the treat in their mouths but spit it out later!) After he finally swallows it, follow the treat up with a game of tug or a favorite activity. This will build the value of the food reward, while helping the handler stay in control of reinforcement. Clean Run | July 12 In the early stages of training, stopping the reinforcement for undesirable behaviors will mean a lot of restrictions on the dog’s everyday activities as well as restrictions on trialing and going to classes. The dog’s focus should be your top priority, not attempting sequences or courses! Also, there are links between high arousal behaviors in agility and high arousal behaviors as a pet dog at home. If you look closely at your everyday life, I guarantee you will find where these ‘agility-related’ behaviors are being rehearsed. For example, the dog that runs along the ring fencing at a trial while barking at the other dogs is often the same dog that fence fights with the neighbor’s dog. The dog that breaks the start line is the same dog that bolts out of crates and doors at home. The dog that cannot even look at the handler when another dog is moving is often the dog that obsesses on squirrels or cars in his home yard or out the window. And sometimes the link is less obvious – it can be as simple as the dog was taught all of his behaviors in a calm, “sterile” environment (no distractions or stimulation) and he simply does not know how to cope with stimulation nor respond to cues. Teach Self-Control Life is a game of self-control for both humans and dogs. We humans cannot stop at every roadside buffet or ice cream stand for a treat, and expect to be healthy or fit. Our pet dogs and agility partners also need to learn and practice self-control—they cannot be allowed to gorge themselves at the buffet of selfreinforcement and still be expected to be great pets and terrific teammates. Dogs that are over-aroused need to learn and practice self-control as a lifestyle, not as a party trick in class. Many handlers with highly aroused dogs avoid teaching the dog self-control, using a common reason as an excuse: “I don’t want to dampen his drive or de-motivate him.” I have two thoughts © clean run Teach the Dog How to Earn Reinforcement Don’t waste calories! You can use the dog’s food and treats as a great opportunity to teach him how to earn reinforcement through you. Life skills are a good indicator of success in the ring. Teaching your dog to be a polite pet dog is one of the best ways to train him to be an awesome teammate in sports. Recalls, focus with distractions, self-control, and polite leash walking are all important for agility success. “Rules” is not a dirty word. Having rules in your dog in life and training is the absolute best way to make the road to reinforcement clear. Setting boundar30

Clean Run - July 2012

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

Clean Run - July 2012
Contents
Editorializing: Children at Agility Trials
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
The History of the Virtual Agility League
Agility Mind Gym: See Success
Agility After Joint Replacement
Power Paws Drills: On the Diagonal
Higher Than a Kite: Training the Over-Aroused Agility Dog
From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers
Not Your Normal Agility Dog
Building Blocks: Building Hands-on Confidence and Control
Principles of Self-control on the Agility Course
Chute Straight
Small Dog vs. Large Dog Handling
I Decided to Be Happy... and Then I Was! Tips on How to Get a New Attitude
Footwork for Agility: Front Crosses
What’s in Your Toolbox?
Clean Run - July 2012 - Clean Run - July 2012
Clean Run - July 2012 - 2
Clean Run - July 2012 - Contents
Clean Run - July 2012 - 4
Clean Run - July 2012 - Editorializing: Children at Agility Trials
Clean Run - July 2012 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run - July 2012 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run - July 2012 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run - July 2012 - 9
Clean Run - July 2012 - 10
Clean Run - July 2012 - The History of the Virtual Agility League
Clean Run - July 2012 - 12
Clean Run - July 2012 - 13
Clean Run - July 2012 - 14
Clean Run - July 2012 - Agility Mind Gym: See Success
Clean Run - July 2012 - 16
Clean Run - July 2012 - 17
Clean Run - July 2012 - Agility After Joint Replacement
Clean Run - July 2012 - 19
Clean Run - July 2012 - 20
Clean Run - July 2012 - 21
Clean Run - July 2012 - 22
Clean Run - July 2012 - Power Paws Drills: On the Diagonal
Clean Run - July 2012 - 24
Clean Run - July 2012 - 25
Clean Run - July 2012 - 26
Clean Run - July 2012 - 27
Clean Run - July 2012 - Higher Than a Kite: Training the Over-Aroused Agility Dog
Clean Run - July 2012 - 29
Clean Run - July 2012 - 30
Clean Run - July 2012 - 31
Clean Run - July 2012 - 32
Clean Run - July 2012 - From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers
Clean Run - July 2012 - Not Your Normal Agility Dog
Clean Run - July 2012 - 35
Clean Run - July 2012 - 36
Clean Run - July 2012 - 37
Clean Run - July 2012 - 38
Clean Run - July 2012 - Building Blocks: Building Hands-on Confidence and Control
Clean Run - July 2012 - 40
Clean Run - July 2012 - 41
Clean Run - July 2012 - 42
Clean Run - July 2012 - Principles of Self-control on the Agility Course
Clean Run - July 2012 - 44
Clean Run - July 2012 - 45
Clean Run - July 2012 - 46
Clean Run - July 2012 - Chute Straight
Clean Run - July 2012 - 48
Clean Run - July 2012 - 49
Clean Run - July 2012 - 50
Clean Run - July 2012 - 51
Clean Run - July 2012 - Small Dog vs. Large Dog Handling
Clean Run - July 2012 - 53
Clean Run - July 2012 - 54
Clean Run - July 2012 - 55
Clean Run - July 2012 - 56
Clean Run - July 2012 - I Decided to Be Happy... and Then I Was! Tips on How to Get a New Attitude
Clean Run - July 2012 - 58
Clean Run - July 2012 - 59
Clean Run - July 2012 - Footwork for Agility: Front Crosses
Clean Run - July 2012 - 61
Clean Run - July 2012 - 62
Clean Run - July 2012 - What’s in Your Toolbox?
Clean Run - July 2012 - 64
Clean Run - July 2012 - 65
Clean Run - July 2012 - 66
Clean Run - July 2012 - 67
Clean Run - July 2012 - 68
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