With decades of experience and solid science behind us, we know positive reinforcement training works and makes learning enjoyable. The system is greater than the sum of its parts…and, incidentally, demonstrates how your dog ends up wanting to cooperate when a treat otherwise wouldn’t be “enough pay” for the task. But, this is a rather complex concept. Let’s instead talk about our goals and where we suggest you start your training journey (this class is a prerequisite for the other classes InJoy offers).
One of our first goals is to develop focus and a clear understanding of marker words (a click is a type of marker). On our 1st class together, dogs (even experienced dogs that compete and are trained by instructors) struggle to focus. So, we have a game that speaks directly to that…that rewards your dog for paying attention and capitalizes on the fact that your dog is distracted by everything going on in the classroom. This is a fun game with advanced versions that can help train hard skills like stay, distance behaviors, startlines, “go outs”, and the like.
It’s also really important to us that your dog wants to cooperate in routine care! So, we have cooperative care discussions and exercises that include tricks few people teach (but should). Included in this is a stationing game, an instrumental skill for around the house (and for going places with your dog). The skills we teach in class are necessary for many fitness exercises, helping a dog relax, and gives you a way to improve the your dog’s health care experiences.
And let’s not forget play!! I think it surprises most people how critical play skills are! Play is an art that builds your relationship (and it all really comes down to your relationship). Besides, it’s just plain fun! But, did you know that there are a lot of details about how we play that can transform the way you and your dog live together? Expert trainers realize that training is really about adding the work to play, which ultimately makes everything a game (and gives you a level of “buy in” from your dog that exceeds the value any toy or treat alone can achieve). By defining the rules and expanding your play repertoire, you gain so much.
Additionally, we’ll try to squeeze in a couple more important skills. One of them involves helping your dog past a tough spot. Once practiced, this skill gives you a way to help your dog past some crazy situations (this is paramount for dogs that have a hard time passing other dogs (which can happen to any of us when other dogs are rushing up and potentially scaring or trying to harm your dog)). It has many uses, including helping set your dog up in a prime position which can make or break your success.
Lastly, we want talk about tricks and activities that can build your dog’s confidence. Though all of the tricks in the class will build your dog’s confidence, we want a specific exercises to help your dog to be brave. This is an important step along your training journey. At InJoy, we want you and your dog to learn how to bounce back from tiny little challenges and get more confident and sure.
Let us help you enjoy training and cultivate a dog that wants to do more with you. After completing the material in this class, you are ready to join us in K9 P.E., Rally-FrEe, Tricks, Freestyle or Agility.