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Articles on Training

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.

Pleasure for the dog?

For every game, for every point where you control delivery of reinforcement, just keep asking whether you see enjoyment and pleasure or habitual response and conflict?

More than a reinforcer

Just delivering a treat is not enough. The delivery of that treat can become a highly valued process, eagerly sought by the dog because the delivery involves so much more than “dump-and-swallow”.

A world of lure

Luring teaches trainers essential skills. We learn how to use suggestion and guidance to shape behaviours. We learn how to explain dynamic movement in the cues from our hands. In combination with reinforcement, luring has without doubt, been one of the skills I value most as a trainer.

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A Cue or not a cue?

With thoughtful planning and a good understanding of the relevance of antecedent selection we can teach the dog the skills of sorting the wheat from the chaff, finding the bones of the exercise. This skill is critical to being able to distinguish between distractions, which are just cues for an alternative reward opportunity, and cues which signify a guarantee of success.

world of luring

A world of lure

Luring teaches trainers essential skills. We learn how to use suggestion and guidance to shape behaviours. We learn how to explain dynamic movement in the cues from our hands. In combination with reinforcement, luring has without doubt, been one of the skills I value most as a trainer.

duration or breakfast in bed?

Duration or is it Breakfast in Bed?

Teaching duration has become a very muddied understanding or what it is and how to teach it. This is partly due to how we use words that are the same but have entirely different meanings.

ethics in dog training

Ethics in Dog Training

Whether you are an owner looking for help with your dog, a trainer taking your first steps towards helping others or an experienced trainer looking to improve – keep working, keep learning, stay curious.

running

Guidance is not dependence

Guidance can be the lightest change in contingencies, an extra antecedent. I can place a palette of different paints and brushes next to the chair. It doesn’t mean you need to paint the chair, you could sit on the chair and paint your own shoes, but just the presence of the tools would give you guidance.

Julie Van Schie

More than a reinforcer

Just delivering a treat is not enough. The delivery of that treat can become a highly valued process, eagerly sought by the dog because the delivery involves so much more than “dump-and-swallow”.

chin target

Nose Target. No thanks

Nose target is a popular behaviour taught to many dogs, and other animals. It seems easy to teach and have practical application, but it is often not such a pleasant experience for all dogs. There are many other options available that give the same practical benefit, without the unpleasant extremes.

Pleasure for the dog?

For every game, for every point where you control delivery of reinforcement, just keep asking whether you see enjoyment and pleasure or habitual response and conflict?

clicker and food

Reasons to use a clicker

The concept of “being a clicker trainer” is always going to lead to argument and misunderstanding because it cannot exist alongside the science and technology. It is a “fakery” of our time. The clicker itself is a simple tool that when used in conjunction with technology provides clarity and understanding in teaching.

sit release cue or stay cue

Release cue or stay cue

Many of us begin with teaching sit or down, and this is one of the earliest experiences of training with reinforcement. From this point forward we are setting a pattern of the delivery of reinforcement. It needs questions to be answered before we embark. Is the sit, or down, going to be a terminal behaviour, or a temporary position?

Learning About Dogs

The core of our education. How health impacts learning. How lifestyle impacts well-being. How our beliefs, traditions and culture affects the lives of our dogs.

When you lose something

The moment the alarm sounded, Dolce was nosing the blankets off me and, unless cued otherwise, would nose me until I got up in a fit of laughter. It was a wonderful way to start the day.

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.

Dogs can only behave like dogs

We should not be trying to change dogs, but change the world in which they live. This extract from Every Dog Every Day brings light to the conflict that can sometimes occur between people’s expectations of dog behaviour and the reality – what dog’s actually do.

Approval or attention seeking?

Jumping up is nearly always viewed, by both positive and negative trainers as A Major Sin. It rates near the top of the list of an undesirable behaviour. If we could empty our minds of the traditional view that This Is a Bad Thing, we may begin to see the behaviour as a sign or symptom of an underlying need that is being dismissed.

Kay’s Blog

Thoughts and ideas that keep me awake at night, followed by a sudden urge to share. Sometimes forthright, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, but worth the time to read.

Heartbeat of Geek-land

I like to regard a “teacher of dogs” as someone who meets dogs in their world and teaches them how to be their best whilst living alongside us in our world.

The life of my Time

Time is my ninth generation of collies. He lives for being a collie and all that collies have done for generations – work in partnership and assist in what their Person likes to do. This ranges from collecting sheep off the mountain to toddling round the main ring at Crufts.

Treats for life?

The whole collective of rewards, or reinforcers, serves a purpose of ensuring that the tasks just completed keep getting completed. The task may tolerate a lapse of memory, but you will soon find that door smacked in your face if you stop acknowledging the courtesy offered to you by a stranger, friend or acquaintance.

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.

Must Read

Really good stuff that can significantly change the way you approach your training and understanding of dogs.

Just because it is better than it was

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.

The Fade-in Protocol

Even though today we are surrounded by many available protocols for teaching with positive reinforcement, there is still a persistence that a dog should be set-up to make an error. An error is simply the difference between my expectation and the dog’s response. No more “distractions”, but faded-in environments.

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TAKL Certificates

Congratulations – TAKL Geeks

TAKL is not about producing clones, but evidence of learning that builds a solid foundation based on understanding, knowledge and application of skills. Not just writing an essay on how it should be applied, but actually showing you can do it. Closing the massive gulf between understanding it and applying it is a road that only you can travel.

Learning in the virtual world

Learning in the virtual world

Technology is zooming ahead, changing the way we interact and influencing the way we learn. Or maybe not? I do not think we learn any differently but we certainly have easier access to what we want to learn in a format that is much, much more accessible.

dogs waiting to come through door

Impressed with 2017

Perfect curtains. Dogs beds reinvented. My shopping choices lean towards practicality, functionality and things that make my life easier. I have the experience now not to believe the marketing of what I “need” to make my life easier. The cupboard under the stairs can be full of those things!

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