Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Release Word - A Test of Understanding

The question is - Does you dog know his release word? Here's your assignment. Have your dog sit at your side, either side. You will be standing up, no cookies to toys on your person. Give your release word without any movement on your part. What does your do do?

I attended a Tracy Sklenar Seminar in April, and this was one of the topics on the Foundation Day.  I LOVE Foundation Day!  I learn so much, find so many potential holes in my training, and find some great ideas to do in my own classes.  

 Last week when it was too hot to run courses, we focused on other Important, yet often forgotten pieces of good dog training. This happened to be one of the things we tried. Interestingly enough, Only about 4 of the 20+ dogs would release without some movement on the handlers part. All 4 of those dogs had worked though at least the initial phrase of Crate Games. A coincidence? I don't think so.

The dogs that 'released' on their release word did not 'run off' a muck.  They simply jumped out of their sit, and either bounced in front of their handler to see 'what's up?', or stood up asking the same question. Where they ended up after they released, was likely determined by where they have been reinforced the most.

Why is this important?  This could be impacting your start lines, if you dog doesn't understand when it should release, you might well be getting movement on your start line.  If they self release on your 2o2o, they might not truly understand their release word.  There are some pretty easy solutions.

Crate Games, that's probably the clearest.  I know I mention this at class, probably more often that people would like to hear.  I see so many problems with holding position, driving ahead, impulse control, that could be resolved with a $35 DVD.  I'm not saying this is a 'cure all', but it sure helps define some pretty significant behaviors. 

The other thing you could do to work on your release word is to set them up at your side, give your release word, and used just the minimum amount of movement to get them to release. Reward, and work at weaning them off of the movement. 

Release word understanding is very important, it's just one of those things that get left out along the way.  HAVE FUN!!!

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