My Seminar Weekend

By Hexen –

I went up an evening early as I hate to have to drive a long distance then to have to part take in something. I showed up first at the dog club and I of course was very friendly. “Hi Im am the American out of the klub berg strasse” the short older gentleman smirked at me and smiled when I said this. So good no work I ask for directions to the motel. The motel was actually a very old house with a restaurant in the first floor. The owners were a wife and her jager (not meister) hunter. He did have the daily catch dressed and getting inspected by the hunting master (this would be the jager meister). So I get settled in and go walk the dogs after then get lost trying to find my way back to the dog place. found it after 20 minuets of getting lost on the 4 different ways out of our side of town. Having just arrived was another member from our club setting up the caravan she was going to be staying in for the weekend, I helped a little set up then back to the hotel. Saturday was 9:00 A.M start and this day the master trainer and the breed warden were to arrive.

The instructor was of course stuck in a traffic jam and late to arrive so we could begin, no matter, good excuse to exercise the dogs a bit before the festivities went underway. The instructor showed up Supposed he is one of the “purely positive crowds” that does not believe in prong collars and consequence. yeah what ever, as I had the prong collar on Uly. But actually better wording would be a trainer that does not advocate “force” training.

Less corrections and more motivation Do not forget we want our boxers to stay crazy and over zealous! We did 1/2 a day theory and discussing conditioning to achieve the desired behavior, applied positive and negitive stimuls to recieve the desired training effect. In other word when to apply force for a corrections as a negitive and when to train with out force and by use of more positve methids like reward and praise.

He started with young dogs first about 6 to 10 months old. The list to get onto the field got all screwed up and jumbled I had no clue who these people were so it was difficult to know when I was supposed to get onto the field. So the Master trainer was there to help as Hella’s problem was very puzzling to him! While hella has made the most progress the quickest under his direction of training WE had still hit a road block with her and she did not want to consistantly hold her head up to look at me while holding the barbell (or to sit close enough to me for that matter). We entered the field he asked me what we wanted to try what the problem was, we told him but then I added that what others have tried and we could not fix! That hella get’s stressed out and a force method was not a method that was working for her to get her to hold quietly.

The instructor watched me work with hella then he took the leash and worked with her he rewarded her with a bit of the tug and when he said out she did not! Of course he wanted to know did she know the command? Of course she does but you are a man and she does not 100% respect men and only listenes to the female gender.

O.k so good so far! it did take a good part of 20 minuets for hella to copy the idea of just hold the barbell quiet! weather you use food or play reward as a positive it has to be a high dollar value to the dog in other words the rewards has to be something that gets the dog excited. With Hella this would be her bite toy! Instructor man prefers balls (don;t ask why I did not question becuse tomy dogs high dollar worth is bite toys with a game of tug,

So hold the barbell look stright or down no reward comes, look up at me and I drop your favorite rewards… Easy? However this method takes much longer then most others. In the begining timing has to be spot on Look up drop the toy which by rights she was supposed to release the barbell to grab her favorite. Nope my GSD is a greedy cow ( Can I say that?) ! Of course not releasing the barbell but jumping up and grabbing the bite toy also,so having 2 toys stuffed in her mouth (which was not the idea)

She is now learning the quicker I look up the quicker I get rewarded with my favorite (the same goes for focus exercises). Start with the dog in the heel position do not give a command or do not make a noise but when the dog looks up at you because they are wondering what comes next give them a reward, then make a new begining point such as start over so it is fresh, Also let’s say your dog drops the barbell pick it up walk the dog a few paces in a circle then restart you ground point (or sit) Then repete the exercise once more. So what we are working on is her learning with the bring command and me holding the barbell about belly button hight when she hears the command jump up grab the barbell sit close look up, then I drop the bite toy to you. This is seeming to get her excited and it is not as stressfull on her. Also in the same respect chew or mouth the barbell you get a negitive weather it is a command (to which she does understand) or a tap on the snout (not hard but a simple tap with my finger). O.k so with everything gooding good and us on our way to having to practice practice practice for the next test in November, I will now kind of switch the subject……

After 1 year almost of being a member of this Klub, and after a few months of really realizing I have found a good fit for me personality wise in the board members and most of the other members at the klub. Now I really know I have found a good match for my personality in order for me to learn and grow as a trainer to become a better trainer. My point to this is as soon as we stepped onto the field to start working with our dogs and the seminar instructor hands on Master Trainer is sitting on the fence he hears something the instructor says and pipes up to add a but this can happend in which case you need to train this way (as an example) The instructor shoots him a glaire OOPS! to say this is my seminar! I had to laugh because during the whole day the Master trainer was jumping in and “helping” out the instructor!

Not to say that the instructor did not or was not good, but t was more of a fact that we are a pushy loud opinionated group of people and if we do not agree then we speak up!

Just as I do not agree with the Master trainer that you should really not start formally working a puppy until they become a young dog at the age of 8 to9 months old, This I have proven in Ulysses my boxer and Bella my friends boxer. I started Uly and bella learning how to walk properly at their competition heel through the use of food conditioning methods at which point by the age of 8 to 9 months old then you can add play methods instead of food rewards. I can take hold of bella’s leash and she now automatically will start to walk in her competition heel by my side. Should be very interresting to see from my videos dated from April’s competition to the competition in November how much improvment hella has made,

Of course I was also asked why I did not get uly out onto the field to work him with the instructor I boldly stated that I was very happy with the way he was comming about in his training through Master Trainer and that why mess with anything! The master Trainer heard this turned to look at me and gave me a big smile. All in all for my first experience being not able to under stand the German language 100% perfectly so what I should say is being handicapped I was very happy with how well the seminar went.