I spent a week before the workshop running private lessons and consults at WoofPurNay (Greencross Vet Clinic) and met and worked with some great people and their dogs.
The venue we booked is a great place for dog owners, I met Rob from the Hydrotherapy Pool when I was there and watched him work with a few dogs and their owners in the pool. I think this is a great asset for Melbourne people to take advantage of because swimming your dog is great, low impact exercise that most dogs love, and for the ones that don’t Rob was there to help them learn to love it by taking his time and helping the dogs get used to entering the water.
The pool is heated so doesn’t create muscle retraction when your dog gets in, instead it’s close to body temp so the dogs love it. I recommend you give it a try and say Hi to Rob for me!
I met with people and we started in a consult room just like I do a home, this helps me relax the dogs and get to hear exactly what we are aiming at before getting into a training environment.
There was ample places for me to train indoor and outdoor and the facility is great!
Onto the Seminar in which a client had located the venue for us. It is very hard, (harder than one might think) to secure a venue that both allows dogs and has undercover areas to work (which is essential for Melbourne weather).
We ran our seminar at a horse facility (5 Star) which has a large indoor arena and a number of outdoor areas for us to use. The indoor arena has a compacted sand floor which is just soft enough under foot to make it great for active dog training. Concrete is a bit hard for active training and can be cold under foot.
People started arriving and Bec and I met a bunch of really great people. The focus for this event was Competition Obedience with a heavy Training in Drive influence but I tried to cover how we can use my training in drive “framework” to surround any sport.
We kicked off with a brief discussion about Drive Development and took this through until morning tea, finishing off the morning with a demonstration from one of my clients, Henna and her awesome Dalmatian Jaime. Henna demonstrated a small Obedience run out displaying the intense handler focus and animation that my programs produce. We had a quick break and as normal I was busy during the breaks answering questions.
We opened up with a demonstration of me running a drive game with a Smithfield named Diesel that I had also worked in a private consult. He is a driven boy that impressed everyone with his high jumps for the ball on a rope. This is a combination of traits that are desirable, strong nerves means the dog will trigger into high prey drive uninhibited in a new environment, with new handler with other distractions.
I was able to demonstrate how Diesel could be flying at the ball and drop and sit on cue instantly, this “sub conscious reaction to stimuli” is a big part of Training in Drive.
We moved right on to getting the dogs in attendance out and I walked around working with each owner and their dog with our spectators in tow. A couple of people in the next break mentioned how diverse the various games with dogs can be rather than all the same, I guess that is a skill I have had to develop and be able to align the games I offer as reward to the dogs reward history and temperament.
There were some really great dogs in attendance and this is great to see more and more dogs feeling confident enough to ramp it up in many places. Years ago this was not the case, many dogs had been suppressed so much that many avoided any level of excitement and had to have these high thresholds to their drives relaxed.
I got to show a number of ways to help open up a dogs drive like restrained recalls which start and end with my framework, food games, tug games, ball games and the use of body language that relieves “Opposition Reflex” pressure that reduce some dogs drive or inhibit it being triggered.
After lunch Saturday we went back to more practical exercises on the dogs I didn’t get to before lunch and there was a young Stafford at the seminar bred and owned by Belinda O’Shea. Belinda did some training with me a few years back and we also spent some time on the phone when Frankie (Stafford pup) was just a baby about how to get the Drive foundations started.
I haven’t seen Belinda and Frankie is now 10 months old and boy has she got some great drive for Belinda. I asked Belinda to set up for a restrained recall with Frankie and have one of our spectators get involved by being the restraint. People were amazed at how much Frankie threw herself into it, I was a bit too! WOW!
We practiced with some other dogs as well, a Mini Schnauzer, Kelpie and “Cashman”, the German Shepherd owned by Julie Lovell. Cash showed a great turn of speed in the recall exercise and had Julie on her toes!
There was a very nice GSP in attendance, Ringo, who I got to demonstrate how to both distraction proof dogs in heel work and also increase drive for the handler in one exercise. Ringo did great!
We ended the day with more discussion on what we had seen, another demonstration from Henna and Jaime on my Remote Reward System in which we can use “Reward Gravitation” to shape the position we are training and finished up about 45 minutes over time, which is excellent for me!
We managed to get out the door dry but gee the rain had come down so hard a dozen times during the day, lucky we were inside. Although I did want to use more space for some group exercises getting everyone drenched wasn’t in the plan!
Sunday morning off again, we needed to cover some theory on positions and attention and we did this ‘In the round”. This means we got everyone in a close circle around me and this more “intimate” style seems to get people talking. I spent some time answering some questions on specific circumstances and training problems people were having. We were able to ask a bunch of questions also and we gave away just under $1000.00 worth of products including the great supplements from Animal Naturals, a Peanut from FitPaws and a bunch of K9 Pro gear too.
Jennifer Martin (regular client) had agreed to travel down from NSW with her amazing dogs to help me show what the programs can do, we never really know what type of dogs we will get and it can really help to motivate people to show a finished dog. Jens Roscoe is a Beycheif Working Line German Shepherd and he was able to showcase many aspects of what Jen has taught him, allowed me to show people how you can train reliable static positions in drive too such as stays and stand for exam under varying levels of distraction from low to very high. This included me taking Roscoes ball that Jen was rewarding with and offer it to Roscoe who lost interest in it with a simple “No Reward Marker” from Jen.
I demonstrated how we execute positions, rather than just let the dog sit down I want the dog slamming its butt down fast, I call this “execution!”. I picked a random dog, and Australian Shepherd from the group and showed how we take the games and turn them into teaching aids, motivation to work and learn for the dog. I shaped heel position and the front position with this dog (really sorry I don’t know the dogs name) and was able to heel the dog right into the middle of a crowd with full focus and the dog did not break under distraction.
Some more handler games, questions and giveaways started heading us toward the end of day two. I finished up with a short talk on the basics of scent work that help the handlers understand how not to pair the Reward odour and the Target odour or this may cause issues later on.
A few final questions and we were done.
In final I have to say that events like these are very difficult to tailor to meet individual needs, rather than try and write a script that I adhere to strictly which may or may not suit the people and dogs in attendance. Whilst this is easier as it is just following a pre written script or a bunch of slides, it often can be totally useless to the group and their goals.
Instead I have some basic topics in which I need to cover to ensure that people understand the concept, but other than that it is feedback driven during the event. This means I need to be very well across the information to be able to add exercises that people want, do more practical or more theory based on what I see and am asked in the breaks.
I try very hard to present information that will send the people home with enough information to get started and progress with their dogs, it’s a puzzle really and not always clear to me and the people which pieces they have until they lay them all out on the field at home.
We have had some great feedback since getting back and some great video of people playing with their dogs and getting new found drive, enthusiasm and results with their dogs.
Thank you Melbourne people for a great week!