Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Day 2 ~ Dogs, Dogs, & More Dogs!

Today was super exciting and fun because it was very hands on. With the exception of a quick lecture in the morning on control and management, and a instructional video on clicker training (how to "shape" a behavior using positive re-enforcement), the entire day was spent working dogs.

Each person had the chance to work with a variety of different dogs and put them through their paces. This time the ever-growing obstacle course challenge included commands like "speak," and of course the infamous "leave it." 

After getting their bearings, participants were given instructions on how to give effective leash corrections. This came in handy when the dogs attempted to dive for the plates of treats placed strategically around the floor (the labs in particular struggled with this-- surprise surprise).  In the end, all the dogs went out of their way to avoid the food. Great job guys!

We then played various games including a dog handling version of Follow the Leader, wherein the dogs had to complete the obstacle course while not getting distracted by the other dogs in front or behind them, and, my personal favorite, a a delightfully hilarious game of "Train the Person." For those of you unfamiliar with this game here's how it goes: one person plays the role of the dog, while another plays the role of the trainer. The "dog" has to step out of the room for a moment while the trainer decides what behavior they want to teach the dog. The "dog" then comes back inside and the class remains silent while the trainer attempts to convey what he or she wants by treating the dog when they start to do the right thing. This activity gives the class a chance see and experience the various processes a dog and their handler must go through when training a new command or behavior.

Overall, the group is doing great and learning quickly. It won't be long before their ready to test their new-found skills out in public!

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