Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Continuing Education?

Are you getting your CEUs in Dog Training?

Methods of dog training seem to change faster than Iowa Weather! Keeping up with new theories, philosophies and methods can make a sane person’s head spin. If you’re already insane, it should be no problem at all for you!

It’s important that you keep searching for a ‘better way’. Avoid falling into the old habits of, “that’s how we’ve always done it”. For example, how many of you grew up with your parents yelling, “Rub his nose in it!”, when puppy, Fido, had an accident on the floor. Dogs, being the kind hearted souls they are, learned in spite of us.

How many of you practice this method now? I actually had a co-worker ask me few months ago, about a housebreaking their young dog. The puppy had lived out in a dog run before they’d gotten him and was very confused with the whole ‘where to go’ business. Moving from and ‘outside dog’, to an ‘inside dog’ can be confusing. Her husband, Carl, wanted to rub his nose in it and she wasn’t sure that this was the right thing to do. So, he suggested that she ask me. Smart GUY!!! I told Mo that this was a brilliant idea! I could tell by the look on her face that this was NOT the answer she was expecting.

So, I explained further. Who ever’s turn it is to watch the puppy must do that; WATCH THE PUPPY! If the puppy has an accident ‘on that person’s watch’, the WATCHER gets his/her nose rubbed in it. This will guarantee that the puppy is taken out often and rewarded for his proper behavior. Mo stated that she would tell Carl I agreed, but that she knows SHE’LL have puppy watching duty. I’m happy to report that puppy is housebroken and Monique’s nose is clean. I think?

The point is, things change! Are you changing with them?

If you are instructing others, I think it’s even more important that you keep up with your continued education learning. How can you help others if you don’t have the knowledge or at least resources to do so yourself?

Currently there are two handlers taking credit for ‘handling methods or styles’, can you name them? What are the differences between these to handling styles? What makes them different? Which do you use?

The two obstacles I see dogs have problems with time and time again are the weave poles and the teeter. There are a number of ways to teach each, do you know several?

Some of the methods used to train weave poles are; channeled, wires, weave a matics, push pull, 2 by 2. Some methods may work better for some dog/handler teams than others. Are you familiar with most of these? Would you be able to help someone decide which method was best for them?

The same applies to training the teeter. There’s table to table, bang it, pounce games, race games and such. At trials I feel pretty confident that I can tell what has happened to some of the dogs that ‘freeze’ midway on the board. Do you feel you could help someone with a problem such as this?

One of the most amazing things that have come about in the agility world, and probably other performance events, is that equipment/exercises are EASY!! It’s the relationship that’s key! If your dog doesn’t want to do things with you as a team, then you’re more than likely going to find yourself running as two beings out on course vs. ONE!

Continuing Education doesn’t have to come in the form of an expensive formal seminar or private lessons. It can come from watching DVDs, you tube, reading books, magazines, internet sites and the like on different topics. You can also learn by watching some of the top handlers run their own dogs. Look for what worked well and go home and practice it! Find someone that that’s dog as the skills you’d like your dog to possess. Ask, ‘how did you get (fill in the blank)” The best thing you can do for your dog and your students is to stay current on the newest training ideas! Things are changing! For the better!


  1. Very good points! It's the same in obedience. Methods have evolved drastically, making the sport both more fun to train and ultra-competitive at the same time. I can't imagine still training like I did back in the 70s! TG for everyone who has shared ideas and helped me through the years! Being open to change and new methods can be hard sometimes but if my dog will benefit from it, then I'm there!

  2. One of the issues is that if you're just starting out and don't have any equipment of your own, you're basically at the mercy of your instructors.

    For example, I'm very much interested in 2x2 weaves to help train entries, but nobody else where I train has them or wants to try them, and I don't have the wherewithal to buy them myself. I'm also interested in the Weave-A-Matics, to change the angle of the weaves. My dog is 23.5" at the withers and hops the poles instead of single striding. I guess it doesn't really matter, but I'd rather have her single stride. The only weaves at the training facility (and the only method taught) is channel weaves. They work, but you're kind of left in the dark if you want to try something else - especially if you can't afford your own equipment like me.

    The same goes for contacts - I'd like to train a quick release (if not full running contact) but that's a big no-no where I train. I love the trainers and I'm not interested in switching training facilities, but like I said, you're kind of required to follow the methods of the instructors even if you, the student, are aware of other methods and is willing to change and explore.