Homework for K9Manners

Canine Manners distance seminar students… this blog is for you!

On March 20 and 21 2017 I shall be in Broken Arrow, OK to lead a Distance Skills seminar. We’ve concocted a unique and fun format in which I will post nearly daily homework exercises in the lead-up to that clinic.

A distance seminar is a devilish thing. You must know that “independent performance” is all about training the dog. You don’t do it in a minute. And, frankly, you don’t do it in a couple days. Dog training is a patient and daily discipline that can easily span month and, in some cases, years.

So, it is my objective in the ten weeks leading up to this seminar to share about a year’s worth of dog training work. I will introduce foundation exercises. And when I have students in front of my we can do an assessment of

Our reference for this training shall be The Jokers Notebook, issue #0. You’ll find this workbook in our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore.

Lesson 1 “Go On” Intro for Baby Dog

Go On is a very basic directional command. It means, continue working in a straight line without regard to the handler’s position or movement. Go On is the basic command verb, and may be punctuated with commands for specific obstacles.

Part 1 ~ As we were working with a very young dog, we used the “hoop” obstacle which is a staple for play in NADAC. There’s no jumping involved and so it is completely appropriate for a young dog. As far as that goes, a jump with the bar laying on the ground would serve just as well.

Part 2 ~ Adding depth and dimension

Once the dog understands the basic performance of a single obstacle we can add some depth to the exercise by adding more of that obstacle. Note that the training method is quite simple. When the dog gets it right there will be praise and reward. When the dog fails to finish the praise and reward are denied. The handler shouldn’t apply a negative marker. Allow the dog to sort out what it takes to earn the reward.

Part 3 ~ Modest Incremental Escalation

Each day we spread out the jumps or hoops… just a few inches. It doesn’t take very long for the distance to become impressive. In our example below we’ve included a pipe tunnel at the end of the line of hoops. And the tunnel is “framed” to the dog by the hoops.

Lesson 2 “Go On” Intro for a Mature Dog

If you think your dog already has decent focus for the jumps you can certainly begin with a slightly more advanced introduction to “Go On”. The YouTube below demonstrates this very nicely.

Notes Aside

Okay, I haven’t written to my personal blog for a long time. I’ve been blogging, of course, but not here. Most of my writing has been going to the Teacup Dogs (TDAA) blog, and to the National Dog Agility League (NDAL) blog.

I return to these pages expressly to for my upcoming seminar (March 20 and 21 2017) with Canine Manners in Broken Arrow, Giving out homework in advance is kind of a unique approach to a seminar. But don’t you know, teaching skills to a dog, especially teaching the dog to work independently at a distance demands that we engage in a very specific and intentional training program that frankly requires months and months of diligent work. It doesn’t happen on a single weekend.

Other people may also use the instruction that’s coming in the following 60 days or so. You are all welcome. A couple of old friends and associates have recently acquired new pups. I invite you, friends… to follow along. A dogs skills in working at a distance are earned and deserved through training and practice. Without training and practice they are neither earned, nor deserved.

ALSO… I’m going to use this opportunity to update the Joker’s Notebook issue #0 and embed the YouTube recordings that illustrate the teaching in the book. There’s something very two dimensional about the written word. The visual expression of those words might really make a difference in bringing home basic training concepts to a student of the game.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Joker’s Notebook, an invaluable reference for teaching an agility dog (and his handler) to work a distance apart.

6 Responses to “Homework for K9Manners”

  1. Mary Green Says:

    I’m excited about this seminar format. Often we expect cliicians to solve our problems when they have never seen us and have no idea about our foundation. Many of them do a wonderful job of digging deep into their toolbox for what may work. Those who do their homework will have the benefit of (hopefully) many repetitions and logical, gradual raise in criteria.

  2. Darla Says:

    Excited to follow this blog in Southern Oregon! I think you will need to come visit us again for another seminar here and judge a TDAA trial.

    • budhouston Says:

      I do believe I’m scheduled to come there this year for a TDAA judges clinic. Talk to the club about maybe a couple days of seminar. I like what I’m doing with Canine Manners and Mary Green… homework in advance, so we can get right down to fun proofing exercises in the 2-day workshop.

  3. Diane Spalding Says:

    Thank you. I have been using your ideas for twenty plus years with four of my own dogs and teach lots in my classes. When the classes do sequencing you have had on your blog..they always chuckle and say ” that must have been a Bud”. Fun and enriching.b. Thanks for always “adding”. I love, love. Love….

    • budhouston Says:

      Good to hear from you Diane! Haven’t seen you in such a long time. Hope all is well. When are you going to do league play with us? It’s fun because part of the reporting includes a YouTube link.

  4. Melissa Wallace Says:

    Great blog entry, Bud. Fabulous idea. Maybe this will help seminars go more smoothly and productively! Let us know when you have the Jokers Notebooks updated. I have been wanting to buy the series. I only have JN0.

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