Monday, August 8, 2011

Take Aways from Lori Drouin Performance Obedience Seminar

Tracey and I attended the Lori Drouin Performance Obedience Seminar as auditors on Saturday.  Since Mike was busy studying for upcoming exams on Wednesday and Thursday I went back on Sunday for the remainder of the seminar.  Take aways are as follows:
  • Lori has same great ideas about refocusing dogs during training, encouraging focus throughout an exercise with a variety of training games, and helping transition dogs through small training steps to a finished exercise.  She breaks up exercises and throws lots of treats to encourage speed and excitement.
  • I was disappointed over the ideas she had about helping Darby not be a maniac on his retrieves for Mary Nell.  I don't think Grace would have approved at all... it was too much jerk for us.  Personally I'm trying a more positive approach.
  • I am fascinated by Lori's use of plastic lids as "scent articles" for beginning utility work - after hand scenting as usual, a treat is placed on the lid and then the dog works up to numerous lids (~20) with only 1 lid scented and treated.  For the next phase, the treat is placed under the edge of the lid (rim up for easy retrieval by dog nose) and again the dog works up to 20 lids.  Lets see then the treats must disappear and the dog work up to several lids again.  Lori also suggested that with dogs like Grace that are over focused on a "dumbbell"  the handler could transition from plastic lids to metal canning jar lids (which don't look like retrieve dumbbells)... lastly then begin transitioning to standard metal scent articles.  I plan on trying this after we search a few more days in the dark living room.
  • Lori trains the dog's name as a "stop" command on the drop on recall and go out exercises.  She starts this by saying the name and tossing a cookie to the side to break forward motion.  I may do some of this with Bern to see if he holds up a bit on his recall.
  • Lastly Lori had some suggestions for encouraging always straight broad jumps using empty gallon size nursery plant pots as well as handler movement games.  She highly discourages the handler throwing anything - after Bern's struggles I tend to agree on this.
  • Oh almost forgot.  Lori teaches healing to her shelties using hand target work.  This technique would probably work great for an Aussie too.  Unfortunately I don't think it will at all for Tracey with Sprigs - I see a long handled spoon and squirt cheese in their future.
The seminar was free to audit.  I purchased Lori's very detailed book for $30 to have reminders of her "games" and techniques.  I feel it was worth my time for tips on training the harder Open and Utility exercises which I'm don't have experience training.  I've now heard ideas during two obedience seminars.  I think Lori had ideas I could follow more easily.

I took a few minutes this evening to catch up on Susan Garrett Puppy Peaks training videos with her puppy Swagger.  She posted some early crate game work when Swag was 7 weeks old - one smart puppy.  She also showed a session where she was introducing him to the head halter - Swag was getting treated for sticking his nose through the halter loop Susan was holding (free shaping).  The head halter session went well which is a good way to introduce a dog to this type of equipment.  Of course there was recall work and nose touch work too. And lots of tugging and chase games to build value for Susan.

After sitting through the seminar this weekend and then watching the videos this evening I note that Susan Garrett is MUCH more animated in her interactions with her puppy than Lori was with her puppy during the seminar.  I'm tilting in the animation direction - Susan has a great recall on Swag and Lori isn't there with Trixie yet.

I broke down and called the plumbing company today - clogged drain problem solved using a nifty electric- powered snake.  Drain is making happy noises now and my wallet is just a wee bit lighter.