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Play Health Check

Play Health Check

When we look at play or food delivery as an ACTIVITY we share the same mindset as the dog: is there pleasure to be experienced?

Back to Basics?

Back to Basics?

The word “basic” is often derided as synonymous with “shallow,” but in its origins it is the very opposite: foundational, profound, supportive.

The Right Bed in the Right Spot

The Whole of The Dog

We cannot divide training into compartments of fast recalls, or sit for greeting, or loose leads as everything we ask of the dogs is interrelated.

Not Today and Not for My Sheepdogs

Not Today and Not for My Sheepdogs

Standard protocols of extinction, impulse control, counterconditioning are quickly grabbed off the shelf as satisfactory solutions. These solutions are unlikely to help your collie, your sheepdog as the focus is heavily on suppression of who they are and why they live.

Do you see what I see

Do you see what I see

Doing better is the reward from doing the work. This work needs to be the right work at the right time with the right intent done in the right way.

A Road to Nowhere

A Road to Nowhere

When familiarity is stripped away we seek recognisable signposts that will take us back to comfort and security. This is survival instinct. It is worth listening to as it keeps us alive.

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Curiosity drives learning. Be curious

Thoughts that deserve time to digest, integrate and mature into changes.
Or just a way to browse and stretch the thinking muscles.

which course which conference?

The Experienced Dog

Sufficient preparation does not mean every eventuality, but a range of different conditions  …

Value of Experience

The personal knowledge and skill gained by doing or applying our knowledge for a period of time…

Chasm opening up?

Are we just making dogs compliant for people or should we consider what is  beneficial for that dog …

Choose to lure

It has become untrendy to lure. Surely our primary choice is what makes it easiest for the dog?

What is a Trainer?

I know what I am, as a trainer. But does my view of “A Trainer” coincide with, or even overlap with yours?

When we train a dog

it grows.
Can we be selfish trainers and still train for the benefit of the dog?

Guidance is not dependance

Shaping was the new sexy protocol to train. No guidance allowed !

Fade in Protocol

Disruption and distraction is always a risk, build resilience and robust learners with the fade-in protocol

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A selection of the best you can find.

Likely to expand your horizon, make you ask questions of yourself, your understanding and your expectations.
For browsers, for passers-by and of course for training geeks.

Surprising Puppy

After introducing the Obnoxious Puppy as a youngster I am knocked over by the delightful Young Man he is turning into.

Obnoxious Puppy

When 12 weeks old hits, and you will feel a slam, the Child of Delight is going to demonstrate ungrateful, obnoxious traits.

A day of learning

A no-training day does not mean he gets a lazy day, learning is still happening and this is significant and important for his development.

Stop doing that

There are times we need to be able to say “you cannot be doing that”.
Yep, me too.

Luring by Hand

Every time food is in your hand the dog will notice. What do we want them to respond to?

Luring at distance

There are occasions when we want the dog to approach for reward by something other than us.

Non-food lures

“the direct use of the reinforcer
to elicit the behaviour”
toys, play, companionship, running, affection ….  all lures

Prepare to train

Setting up the training area and environment before we begin any training, or learning, or teaching will be an important skill to develop.

Cue Seeking

The gap between the consumption of the reward and the begin of the next behaviour allows us to see the effect of the reward to the dog.

More than words

We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.

Going Shopping?

The foundation for food-less pockets, the foundation for extended behaviours, building a strong association  together.

Reasons to use a Clicker

A simple tool that can provides clarity but does not make you a trainer. 

Nose target ?

A popular behaviour that seems easy to teach and have practical application, but it is often not such a pleasant experience for all dogs.

Duration Movement

Asking the dog to continue, or sustain a movement in the behaviour we have already taught. 

Duration Stillness

“Stay!”, meaning don’t move, also “you stay here, I shan’t be long” when leaving …????

Re-lease or stay?

Is “staying” is something you
ADD to a behaviour,
or
ASSUME in a behaviour?

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More than words

More than words

We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but if you have ever worked with computers you will know that what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.

One day you will love him again

One day you will love him again

The puppy that you adored, could do no wrong, is now a living horror story. We want to use positive reinforcement, and our mind focuses on the success of what is not happening. But reinforcement attaches itself to something happening, not an absence and cannot select for a multitude of different things that are being reinforced.

How do you know what you don’t know?

How do you know what you don’t know?

The age of trusting the professionals is fading fast. I am not sure anymore what exactly is a professional and the difference between genuine, self-styled and fake? With so much information freely available and shared when we open the gate to “looking for a xyz” we are struggling to recognise authenticity from smart marketing.

Wheat or Chaff?

Wheat or Chaff?

What is the purpose of this video? To sell a product, to instruct or to inspire? It should be clear from the first viewing. Often we are seeing an unhealthy blend of talking head, dripping treats into bored dog, convincing you of their innate expertise.

Not all lures contain food

Not all lures contain food

“the direct use of the reinforcer to elicit the behaviour”
This should always be foremost in our mind, in that many alternatives lures are available.

What is important … ?

What is important … ?

… when your dog is sick and fearful? If you have a dog who is sick and fearful you can feel lost and alone. The weight of opinion, expectation and information can be overwhelming. What is right? What is true? What is best? Throughout this journey I have allowed my ethics to guide me. The individual who is Merlin is at the heart of every choice I make.

The Table Game

The Table Game

Coming up to 20 years since I designed this game for my college students in computing – to improve communication!
Who knew it would become a future piece of technology for world of training and behaviour analysis?

… and cruises of course!

Changing is growth

Changing is growth

We are naturally attracted to familiar ways of training or living with our dogs. We have often worked hard to learn those habits and there is a reluctance to make changes since this is hard work. It takes mentally energy to note what we are not doing well, recall what changes we need to make, find the prompts that can move us to the changes and then work on the skills those changes require.

Are you coasting?

Are you coasting?

Are we coasting or are we improving? Is time so precious that we cannot invest in doing better? Looking at “Leave it” protocols, which are just another way of saying “no”. If we focus our training around what we don’t want the dog will focus on what to avoid. Focus on what we do want.

A New Puppy. Oh Joy.

A New Puppy. Oh Joy.

Impulse buying the wrong sofa can be rectified if you swallow the expense. Impulse buying a puppy can result in personal grief for you and your family and quite possibly result in a very unhappy future or end the life of that puppy.

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