Monday, November 27, 2006

No Photo to Share. Seminar Summary.

The Ian Dunbar seminar in Orlando was a gruelling 3 days, but let me tell you, I learned so much my head was threatening to explode.

I learned some new techniques which are different than Lloyd's. I think that's just peachy. When I strike out on my own as a professional, I want to be armed with as much knowledge as possible.

Dunbar has very strict age limits for his puppy classes, which allows young dogs (no more than 4 months) to play while being trained subtly. The subtlety comes from allowing play, while interrupting at timed intervals to take hold of the dog's collar, then letting him go back to play. This creates a reward system for allowing the owner to grab the collar - the dog learns that he will be allowed to play after he allows his collar to be held.

This progresses to holding the dog's collar, then having him sit, then allowing him to continue playing. Eventually, the owner should be able to tell their dog to sit from a distance, without touching him. The young age of the dogs allows them to interract without the baggage and behavior problems that may come with older dogs.

We also got to see videos of all the techniques in action, including a beginner's class with older dogs. One of the videos showed dogs progressing from being rewarded for simply looking at their owner to staying by their side while walking. Pretty amazing stuff. Franklin and I are practicing this. It may taker a while, but it is gentle and reduces stress for dog and owner.

One of Lloyd's favorite phrases is "catch a dog doing something right, and reward him for it". This fits the technique above to a tee. The owner simply waits for the dog to do what is required, and is rewarded. The beginning is looking at the owner, progessing to always following the owner's face, even when the owner turns his or her back to the dog. This progresses to the dog sitting by the owner's side, then walking by the owner's side. Wonderful.

I met some top-notch people at the seminar, including local DC area trainer and author
Joel Walton, and trainer and author Nicole Wilde.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Don't Get Your Knickers in a Twist

I'm waiting on someone to send me a picture via email before I blog about the seminar. If it doesn't arrive by a week from today, I'll soldier on without it.

Now stop bugging me! Sheesh!