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Connie Cleveland Training Tips

Connie's Corner

Command Discrimination: Training TipsOur New Year started with a two-hour workshop to discuss and practice the Command Discrimination exercise. At the conclusion of the workshop, a few points become clear to me. I've loaded a video from the workshop. It's available free on your "My Products" page. I've also created list of training tips to help you teach your dog the new exercises.
Command Discrimination: Goals and Techniques Our biggest challenge will be increasing the distance that we stand from our dog while giving commands. We do not want our dogs to be penalized for what the rule refers to as "walking forward." Our goal should be to teach our dogs to perform the change of positions with minimal or no forward movement.
Command Discrimination: Thinking it ThroughThe new Command Discrimination exercise requires our dogs to perform Sit, Stand and Down positions in different sequences. In this message, I will provide you with some ideas for teaching your dog to perform the three positions in the sequences required by the new rule. This exercise is new to me too, but I am convinced that with a little experience and some feedback from you, we will discover a preferred technique. We will later refine our technique to address problems that occur during the pressure of competition. It is time to get started!
Teaching the New Command Discrimination ExerciseIt's final, the rule changes have been approved and it is time to start training. The most significant change is replacement of the Open Stay exercise with a new Command Discrimination exercise. Just like any other exercise you've taught your dog, the place to start is by understanding what skills your dog will need to learn.
Training Partners at Their Best - Why I love Dog Sports!I went to bed on September 22nd, excited that early the next morning I would be leaving for the first fall field trial of the season. However, instead of being awakened by my alarm clock, I woke up much earlier, too sick to go. Wildly disappointed, I contacted my friend and training partner, Donna Brocht, who was also headed to the trial, "Will you pick up Nate and take him to the field trial? I'm too sick to go." For most obedience competitors, this may seem like a strange request, but the field trial season is short, and with so few competitions available in my area, I didn't want Nate to miss this one.
The Power of a Conditioned ReinforcerWe want our dogs to enjoy performing the obedience exercises and we want to have fun training them. It is a goal we share. There are obedience exercises that your dog will naturally enjoy. Some dogs naturally love to jump, others love retrieving, and some love to heel. However, few dogs find any fun in performing fronts, finishes, and pivots.
Teaching Tricks to Improve Advanced ExercisesReview the instructions and videos provided in Tricks that Transition to Obedience Exercises, and have some fun teaching your dog some "tricks" that will make it easier for him to learn more advanced exercises.
Never Waste a Failure that You Can Learn FromNick Saban, the revered coach of the University of Alabama football team was asked how he felt about a loss to the Clemson Tigers. His reply was, I never want to waste a failure."
Home Study for Your New Puppy: Teaching the Basics I have just finished my second E-book, Home-Study for Your New Puppy: Teaching the Basics. My goal for this book is to create an affordable online training opportunity for new puppy owners. I want to help them get a good start with training their puppy so he will become a treasured member of their family. This is a goal we all share. Too often we see puppies dragging their new family around on a tight leash, jumping on visitors, running away instead of coming when called and relieving themselves in all the wrong places!
Directed Jumping + Flat Retrieve = Retrieve Over the High JumpThe typical approach for teaching the obedience exercises is linear. First, we teach the Novice skills, next the Open skills, and finally the Utility skills. This approach ignores the fact that all the exercises are related.
Are you heading out to train today?A dog that is working on a Utility title has the easiest training session to plan. You know exactly what to work on: Signals, Articles, Gloves, Moving Stand, and Directed Jumping. However, knowing what to work on when you are training a young or inexperienced dog is much harder. Most new handlers spend their time working solely on the skills they will need in the Novice ring - skills that many dogs find tedious and boring when repeated often.
"Wrong in the Ring" E-Book Available for PurchaseYou've taught your dog the exercises, practiced them in a variety of locations, added distractions and challenged your dog with common sense proofing. You've learned how to best to warm him up and have planned the choreography of your performance. But, even after doing all of this, your dog makes a mistake in the ring. Purchase "Wrong in the Ring" for $24.95, less than the cost of one entry fee.
The Rules that Confuse Us: Open & UtilityI reviewed the list of rules that new Novice competitors need to understand before stepping into the ring last week. A very astute judge sent me a note asking me to remind Novice competitors that they must leave from and return to heel position on the Stand for Exam and the Stay exercises. Let's turn to the Open and Utility classes.
AKC Obedience Rules: Hard to Understand and Easy to ForgetI received a message from a new competitor expressing her frustration about how the obedience rules are incomprehensible. Anyone that has ever tried to study the AKC Obedience Regulations has read a document that seems more like a complicated legal contract.
Wrong in the Ring: Improving a SkillProofing can be used to try to cause the same errors in training that are occurring in the ring. If I set up situations that might cause the error to occur and my dog performs with improved focus, even if he doesn't make the error, I consider my point made.
Wrong in the Ring: Errors on the Signal Exercise Shaking Off the Pitch!
If you've ever been in the Utility ring, your dog has failed signals in one of the following ways:
Wrong in the Ring: Chronic ProblemsAn obedience handler sent this message asking for help with a problem she was having on the drop on recall exercise.
I'm afraid my dog may be competing in Open A forever because she won't do the drop on...
Wrong in the Ring: Random ErrorsYou may be caught off guard the first time your dog makes an error in the ring. I understand how difficult it is to respond when you are not expecting the error. Instead of responding, we look for ways to...
Wrong in the Ring: AttentionHandlers often express disappointment in their dog's attention in the ring. It is hard to achieve the same attention they get in...
Climbing the LadderEarning a Utility title involves teaching your dog 15 exercises. You need to wrap your mind around the dog training principles that you believe in before you begin teaching these exercises. You also need to discover techniques that support the principles and decide on the order in which you will teach the exercises to your dog.
Mirroring BehaviorI recently listened to a podcast about mirroring behaviors. The presenter spoke about how we mirror behavior that others present to us. For example, if someone...
What Does It Mean to Have Fun?I am passionate about dogs. I have dogs because I love dogs. I would have dogs if I never competed again. The fact that I can share my home with a different species, that we coexist peacefully, harmoniously, and, yes,...