24 Jun 2015

Training Tip – Hand Touches

One of the easiest yet most valuable behaviours we teach our dogs in foundation, and that we use throughout their lives, is the hand touch.

First, it is how we start all puppies with “learning to earn” and “shaping” as it is such a simple thing for them to figure out – you can use their meal times to earn each piece of food. It also becomes the default “please” behaviour, which is essential for creating and maintaining a great work ethic. Every time they want something, they say please with a hand touch.

It is a behaviour that happens […]

12 Feb 2015

Training Tip – What can you do in 3 minutes?

One of the key skills we look for in our foundation training is fast and high level reward. Our goal is to try and reward every 2 seconds, which not only helps target specific behaviours but also helps in maintaining high drive in the dogs’ work ethic.

Throughout our dogs’ lives, most of their rear cross training is carried out in sessions roughly the same length of time it takes for the kettle to boil. We teach a Sit Rear Cross drill aiming to reward a fast 180 degree head turn when we execute a rear cross. With my 2 […]

22 Jan 2015

Training Tip – Surprise Rewards

A fun game while out with your buddy is to find new and interesting things to play with in the immediate environment. Here I am at the beach, rewarding Bee for a great recall with a piece of seaweed – the texture, taste, smell, and the way it moved, made for an intensely different and fun interaction!

The primary benefit of developing a solid reward base is that your dog understands that in all environments, and during any circumstances, what you have to offer is better than any environmental factor. Being prepared with treats and a toy to play tug […]

14 Jan 2015

Training Tip – Reinforcement

For correct reinforcement structure to be set, it is important that tugging and taking food from you are as equal in value to your dog as possible. This is necessary because different behaviours are better rewarded by either food or tugging due to placement of reward and the physiological effects triggered by each of these rewards.

One of the ways to build this equality is to always work with both food and tugging within every training session – whether you are working on start line training, or on a shaping session, or even when you have progressed to equipment training. All […]

16 Oct 2014

Training Tip – Establishing a Solid Reinforcement Structure in a Dog’s Life Can Drastically Change Their Life for the Better

When your dog learns to really love earning rewards in the forms of playing with YOU, and tugging and food from YOU, then working for YOU becomes worthwhile and a joy for your dog.

Without having proper rewards that your dog really, really loves, then working for you just isn’t much fun.

Our goal is to have a dog that enjoys playing and working; engaging with us should be the most rewarding thing in their life!

This goal is for any age, breed, size, and history. Bee, Greg and Laura’s rescue Chi/Terrier, was a feral 3 month old puppy in April. Now in […]

2 Jun 2014

Training Tip – Agility Training is 24/7

All too often, folks only train certain behaviors when they are at their training facility. Criteria can and should be rewarded in as many different environments as possible. Working in many diverse locations exposes your dog to every kind of distraction possible, and probably even distractions you never even thought to train through. This will help your dog truly understand what you expect of them when you give them their cues.

So, the next time you are taking your dogs out for a run on the beach or a walk in the forest, be prepared with rewards so that you can […]

4 May 2014

Training Tip – Reward Your Recalls Daily

Your recall is one of the most important cues your dog will learn in his life. Not only is it important for general daily purpose and safety, but in an agility context, it is vital that your dog respond to his name or recall cue immediately. To keep the recall response at its strongest, you must practice it in every situation you can, and where you are prepared to highly reward your dog for responding.

We aim for at least 25 daily recalls where our dogs are rewarded for immediately responding. A fun game of tug is a great way to […]

4 Apr 2014

Training Tip – A Great Foundation Equals Great Life Skills

A GREAT FOUNDATION is not only about creating an Agility dog capable of reaching her full potential; a lot of this key training transfers across to essential life skills. Take Start Line training for example and the importance of remaining in position when asked:

If you talk to many of the best animal trainers in the world outside of agility, they will tell you that placement of reward is key in the understanding and drive required for any cued behaviour. If I want my dog to remain happily and confidently in a STAY, then rewarding him while he maintains this position […]

23 Dec 2013

Training Tip – Reward Structure

What is reward structure really about? It’s being able to tell your dog he is brilliant while having fun. A key point to achieving great play is that you BOTH enjoy it. Don’t just play a token game of tug – really get into the game and be as enthusiastic as you can be. Are you both energetic, pulling hard against each other, both play-growling, while you are smiling and perhaps even laughing as you taunt him in a playful manner? Tease him with your free hand by slapping or grabbing at him, creating even more of a physical interaction. Remember, […]

10 Dec 2013

Training Tip – Why is tug such a vital tool for agility training?

To train true understanding and desire to perform behaviours, placement and rate of reward is critical. Food works well for static and stationary behaviours, but simply cannot elicit the same intense physiological responses from your dog that you can achieve with tugging. Tugging provides an opportunity to build your dog’s speed and drive, while allowing for correct placement of reward.Most importantly, the duration and intensity of reward needed for so many of the behaviours required in agility cannot be achieved with a food reward, such as when the dog is driving in hard to the handler on threadles, serpentines, […]