a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Friday, April 4, 2014

Words of wisdom

Several people have asked me to tell them what I learned at Patrick's clinic.  My first Border Collie, Jet, came from Patrick.  Let me tell you that this man was very kind in answering all of my novice email questions about training Jet over the years.  This was the first time I was able to work with him.  He is very introspective and quiet which enabled me to be able to take everything in and SEE where my problems in working my dog might be.

A few of the things I learned….

Dogs learn by experience and by timely corrections.  The hardest thing to learn is that you need to get a behavioral change in the dog when you correct.  If you keep asking and see NO change;  STOP, amp it up a notch until you get the change.  Once you get the behavior, carry on.

We see this all of the time with dogs that will NOT stop when asked.  How do you make a correction work?  By the element of surprise.  Make it as hard as the mistake.  The dog must show remorse for his error.  If the dog doesn't show remorse, your correction most likely fell on deaf ears.

This is hard to learn.  Sounds easy, but it isn't.  All dogs are different.  Some are biddable to a fault, others are too independent.  It is difficult to understand which correction fits the crime.  But, if you see that the dog has shown no remorse (such as turning his head, feeling like he messed up) your correction probably wasn't hard enough.  Plus, the element of surprise and embarrassment works quite well as a correction.

If you have a training session without any corrections, your dog is most not likely learning anything.

The other thing I liked about Patrick's clinic was "If your dog is riding too close behind the sheep, he is most likely in a different room than you.  He can NOT hear you if he is in a different room.  He cannot respond to your commands if he can't hear you.  Make him stay back and stay in the same room with you. The dog cannot develop his 'method' until he is pushed back from the stock.  When the dog has the distance correct, he can move the stock with his eye, not his body.

Have a plan when you go to train.  Work on 2-3 things and start a timer, so you aren't over drilling.  Use 5 min. sessions.  After each session, relax a bit, before you start the next.

When the dog dives in or grips, this is not the time to be verbal.  Correct only when he let's go.  Correct as strongly as he held on.  He needs to show remorse, not just avoid you to get back to the fun stuff of working.

A confident dog will take your directions easier because he is sure of himself and of his own work.  Once he becomes confident he will relax and listen better.

I hope this gives a few of you some things to think about.  It gave me a lot to think about!


Anonymous said...

'If one is not the lead dog then the view is always the same.'

Best I can do.


gvmama said...

Greg…you crack me up. Absolutely! Love you!