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.
Dog, puppy or person, we can’t not learn. The environment is “playing on us” all the time, when we are watching TV, FaceBooking, listening to a podcast, in a lesson, we cannot not learn. Are you aware of what learning is happening?
We cannot teach something just for fun, it can never be just a trick, that is like saying you are going teach a child to cross a road, read a book, ride a bike for fun – it doesn’t have to be “done properly” because it is only a trick.
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.
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.
This type of duration asks the dog to continue, or sustain a movement in the behaviour we have already taught.
We may be asking the dog to use their paw and hold it still for longer, perform competitive heelwork, carry an article, run in a circle.
Luring teaches trainers essential skills. We learn how to use suggestion and guidance to shape behaviours….
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.
The classic training protocols are too often about supressing the annoying behaviours without realising that a sheepdog can no more stop being a sheepdog than you can stop being a human and become a hamster.
… 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.
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.
Impulse buying the wrong sofa can be rectified if you swallow the expense. Impulse buying a puppy …
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.
Most training starts from necessity. Management is a necessity but it usually benefits all parties by a reduction of conflict. Are they expanding their skills to benefit us or for their benefit?
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.
Our cultural history of training dogs is laced with Person shows Dog types of principles. As if a person can actually “tell” a dog how to sit, when every dog knows how to sit at about 3 weeks old. But the process of training used to be focussed on taking away what was...
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.
Really good stuff that can significantly change the way you approach your training and understanding of dogs.
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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.
The puppy that you adored, could do no wrong, is now a living horror story. We want to use positive reinforcement ….
Why is fast training considered better or ever a solution? Does fast training wall us off from asking deeper questions?
Jumping up is nearly always viewed, by both positive and negative trainers as A Major Sin …
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It seems easy to teach and have practical application, but it is often not such a pleasant experience for all dogs.
The delivery of a treat is a highly valued process, eagerly sought by the dog and is so much more than “dump-and-swallow”.