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Meet "Pan" deMonium! My Thoughts on Raising a Performance Puppy

foundation puppy Nov 17, 2021

Meet "Pan" deMonium! He's a 7-week old Border Terrier that I've agreed to raise for a family member. Pan will be with me until he is 16-weeks-old. His owner has expressed an interest in exploring the world of obedience, agility, and possibly scent work, but most importantly, he's going to be her hiking and adventure buddy! I want to share his introduction to training with those skills in mind.  

When I start training my puppies, I start with four subjects: 

1) Luring- I want to teach my puppy to follow the food in my hand as I lure him into a variety of behaviors. 

2) Indirect Path to Reward- I want my puppy to learn that sometimes he must move away from the treat to earn a treat. 

3) Introducing and motivating a love for retrieving.

4) Learning to "Come" when called. 

This first video is his second lesson after being separated from his littermates. 

Of course, we can't ignore the basics of puppy raising for the excitement...

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Raising a Performance Puppy - Pan deMonium at 9 weeks

foundation puppy Nov 10, 2021

This post is a continuation of "Raising a Performance Puppy". If you missed part one, check it out HERE.

Pan, the Border Terrier that I am raising for a family member, is now 9-weeks-old! Each day, I continue to build on the four subjects I find most important for my performance puppies:

  1. Luring- teach the puppy to follow the food in my hand as I lure him into a variety of behaviors. 
  2. Indirect Path to Reward- I want my puppy to learn that sometimes he must move away from the treat to earn a treat. 
  3. Introducing and motivating a love for retrieving.
  4. Learning to "Come" when called

Here you can see he's getting better at luring and I've started to introduce duration on the down. I also show you how I shape the mechanics of the retrieve with food. Pan is retrieving so well, that I'm able to do a "double retrieve!"

This next session continues to build on previously taught behaviors and introduce some new ones, like circling a...

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Raising a Performance Puppy - Pan at 10 weeks

foundation puppy retrieve Nov 08, 2021

Socialization is introducing your puppy to sights, sounds, and surfaces. In this video, I use some boxes that arrived to expose him to the skills of tunneling and climbing. Add to that, the use of a Reward Marker and he was readily working on moving away from reward to earn reward. Additionally, using the Reward Marker I am able to get Pan to start taking the dumbbell from my hand. 

Luring is using food to show the dog a direct path to reward. Most of us are very comfortable luring our dogs and puppies to shape behaviors.

Teaching your puppy that there is an indirect path to reward can be a stumbling block for many of us as it is not as easily achieved. Using a Reward Marker, your puppy is not just chasing a food bribe, but offering behavior to earn a reward. 

Watch this video with those concepts in mind. Notice when I am luring and when I am rewarding. Have the determination that you can do the same with your puppy! 

Sit, Down, Stay, Spin, Roll-over, Shake,...

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Raising a Performance Puppy - Pan at 11 weeks

foundation puppy Nov 04, 2021

Pan has left infancy behind and become a toddler. His coordination is improving, his attention span is growing, and his boldness and intensity are increasing. 
I am continuing to work on the four subjects that will be the foundation for all the skills he learns; luring to shape behaviors, move away from reward to earn reward, coming when called and retrieving. 

 
 Learning to retrieve is fun, great exercise, and very useful. However, learning to "Come" when loose is the most important skill that you can teach your puppy. Get in the habit of working on "Come" every time you take your puppy outside. 


Are you training a puppy with the goal of participating in performance sports?

Check out the Performance Puppy Primer, a complete collection of written and video content that will improve your training skills and help your puppy reach its full potential. 

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Raising a Performance Puppy - Pan at 12 weeks

foundation puppy Nov 03, 2021

A puppy's brain is malleable in these early stages of development.  Concepts that they learn early become deep-seated and long-lasting. This week, I am building on his experience of taking direction to a platform, to teach Pan a puppy version of Directed Jumping. Additionally, I introduce the pattern of the Broad Jump. We are outside at a small park, and the distractions are plentiful.



Puppies are easily distracted and I work hard to keep Pan’s attention. In addition to having treats that the puppy wants, and changing subjects often, I use physical touch to engage him, much like two puppies would push and bump one another when playing.


Are you training a puppy with the goal of participating in performance sports?

Check out the Performance Puppy Primer, a complete collection of written and video content that will improve your training skills and help your puppy reach its full potential. 

Continue Reading...

Raising a Performance Puppy - Pan at 13 weeks

foundation puppy Nov 02, 2021

Pan’s obedience lessons are getting a little more complicated as I am doing very little luring and expecting him to perform to earn reward. Practicing multiple skills in a variety of orders proved to be a bit confusing.

Additionally, Pan has started scent work! Watch his first lesson in its entirety.  Pan is imprinted on odor and quickly distinguishing between target odor, controls, and distractions! I am using scent tubes designed by my husband, Pat Nolan. You can find instructions for making your own scent tubes at https://patnolan.com/scent-tube-construction/

During Pan's second and third lesson, I am able to move from imprinting odor to rewarding for odor recognition. He is starting to pause in odor and learning to maintain his alert for longer periods of time. 


Are you training a puppy with the goal of participating in performance sports?

Check out the Performance Puppy Primer, a complete collection of written and video content that will...

Continue Reading...

Assuming the Worst

I was training a Golden Retriever for field trial competition, a competitive event where hunting dogs compete against one another in retrieving and other aspects of bird hunting. He had developed a problem that seemed to be career-ending. When I attempted to direct him to a bird that he had not seen fall, he would respond to three or four of my whistles or signals giving him direction, but then start hunting, ignoring my commands. Often he would find the bird while “out of control” of the handler — me! — which is a failing error in competition.

At first it was frustrating, but soon it was infuriating. Words like stubborn and willful seemed to best describe his behavior. Surely, he knew better! How could he be so disobedient!

Day after day, my determination to gain control intensified. Finally, thinking it was my last option, I took him to trainers more experienced than I was. For five days I listened as they criticized my ability and the dog’s ability....

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Teaching Directed Jumping

When training the new obedience dog, I divide all the exercises into 5 skill sets. Your dog must learn heeling skills, stationary skills, recall skills, jumping skills, and retrieving skills.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you must work through the classes in order – Novice, Open, and Utility. Instead, you can practice an exercise (or two) from each of the five skill sets to build a solid foundation for your dog.

Ready to start jumping? Teach Directed Jumping first! This exercise teaches your dog how to jump, to follow handler direction and move in the direction of the jump. Teaching Directed Jumping early prepares dogs for the other jumping exercises.

Here is an article (downloadable pdf) explaining the steps I take to teach this exercise. I'm sure you and your dog will have fun with this exercise!

Click here to get the article

Don't hesitate to reach out to me with questions!

-Connie 

P.S. - did you find this article helpful? My...

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Fronts With Two Leashes

 

Techniques Change, Goals Don't!

Teaching a dog to sit straight in front of you requires that your dog know how to maneuver his body from side to side. 

Techniques for teaching your dog to front straight in front of you are as plentiful as recipes for Apple Pie!

You may have tried having your dog stand on a bucket and maneuver his rear end, using a guide on the ground for your dog to sit on, pointing to front,  dropping treats from your mouth, backing up, using your feet as a guide. All those techniques, or a combination of them, may prove helpful. 

At this point, the easiest solution may seem to be to give up...after all, a crooked front is only a half point deduction..."

Before you do that, change your technique! Here's an idea that might help your dog understand that his head is in the correct position, but his rear end needs to move. 

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Warming Up Using Your Reward Marker

preparing to show Jul 01, 2021
 

Warming up, before your performance, can be difficult due to limited space and Covid restrictions.

If you use a Reward Marker (clicker or word), and your dog has a powerful response to that marker, you can use that tool to create a focused and enthusiastic attitude  prior to entering the ring.

This warm-up can be done is a small space and can generate lots of enthusiasm. It may offer the perfect solution to getting your dog engaged before entering the ring.

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