It’s been a while since I posted a training update. Truth be told, for a while I lost the motivation.
That’s finally shifted again, and suddenly I have an arm-long list of things to work on. This is thanks, on one hand, to my New Year’s Resolution to get him through the Protocol for Relaxation. We haven’t started it yet. Instead, I’ve been doing a little foundation work to help get through what I can foresee as some of the Protocol’s rough spots–staying while I jog around, for instance, or through a knocking noise. I’ll probably start the Protocol “for real” in early February, after we get back from (yet another) trip.
On the other hand, we’ve been having to do some serious counterconditioning of outside noises. It’s going incredibly well, incredibly quickly, thank goodness, but it is tedious. More on the “why” side of that tomorrow.
Last, but definitely not least, someone pointed me to Susan Garrett one day last week. I’d heard of her before, thanks to her popular Crate Games DVD, which I haven’t watched, but what I didn’t realize is that she is genius. While we don’t see eye-to-eye on quite everything, the way that she uses play and games in training was the biggest lightbulb moment I’ve had in dog training. Go “like” Susan on Facebook and watch her free “Stand” video. (It’s right under the header image, toward the right hand side). I think Garrett’s tactics are “old hat” amongst agility people, but since we are not agility people, it’s all new to me. I’ve been reading her blog like crazy over the last few days.
In the world of tiny details, I’ve also borrowed from Garrett a new release cue. I’ve never liked “free,” because it implied that stay was some kind of prison. The “ok” I used instead was too weak and too conversational, though. Garrett’s “break” is a great alternative. Also, I have to say, changing your release cue after your dog is pretty good at a behavior is kind of an easy way to do it.
It’s funny–I didn’t sign up for the January Pet Training Challenge, but I seem to have naturally gravitated that direction anyway.
Oh, don’t forget to enter my book giveaway. Entries open until Friday.