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Connie Cleveland Training Tips

Connie's Corner

Command Discrimination - One Year LaterCommand Discrimination - One Year Later All videos are located at the bottom of this page. A...
Improve Attitude with Reward Markers It's true! Dogs perform faster and with enthusiasm when we use reward markers to indicate exactly what our dogs have done to earn the reward. Are you doubtful? Join me on November 15th at 8:00 p.m. (EST) for a discussion about using reward markers in dog training.
Make Training Fun For someone that has been competing and teaching obedience for as many decades as I have, "making obedience fun" has been an ongoing process, a transformation over time. Training became truly fun when I learned how to effectively use a reward marker.
Teaching the New Obedience Dog: Sample Training Session Keep your training sessions short and plan a variety of skills to work on. You are training an inexperienced dog and just as a kindergarten teacher is constantly changing subjects, so should you.
Teaching the New Obedience Dog: Prerequisite Skills This is the fifth message in a series of training tips for the new obedience dog. This message describes how certain skills should be taught in a specific order and how other skills are related but may be taught in any order.
Teaching the New Obedience Dog: Let's Start Jumping!If you've been following the series of messages about Training the New Obedience Dog, you've had an opportunity to introduce your dog to skills that will form a solid foundation for your dog. This week, I want you to introduce your dog to the bar and high jumps.
Teaching the New Obedience Dog: Time to learn some new skills!I often hear people complain that "playing with their dog is fun," and "obedience training," is not. Have you tried the skills described in my last two messages? Have and your dog had any fun practicing them? It's time for your dog to learn some new skills.
Teaching the New Obedience Dog: Using TargetsDeciding where to begin training with a new obedience dog can be overwhelming. There are many choices and so much they need to learn! The next skill I teach inexperienced dogs is how to use a target for teaching a Sit, Down and Stand. Teaching a dog to Sit, Down and Stand on a platform creates a solid foundation for several obedience exercises.
Training the New Obedience Dog - Getting StartedI often ask the participants at my seminars: "If you were by yourself in this facility, with time to train, what would you work on?" Participants that have the most trouble answering this question are the ones who are starting new obedience dogs. There is so much to work on, the trouble is knowing where to start. Over the next few messages, I will show you how to teach your dog the skills that every new obedience prospect needs learn. If you have a new dog or one that you've already started, follow along to ensure that you haven't missed an opportunity to lay a solid foundation.
Utility and Beyond If you aspire to earning obedience titles beyond your UD, do yourself a favor and turn your dog into a Utility machine. All the advanced titles, the Obedience Trial Championship, the Obedience Master Titles, and the UDX, are simpler when your dog can consistently qualify in the Utility class.
Utility or Bust Pursuing a Utility title marks a critical time in your dog's obedience career. I'd like to offer you an important strategy that I believe will help you achieve this goal. The Troublesome Top Three technique is particularly useful when pursuing advanced titles but can be adopted at any time in your dog's obedience career.
Understanding Direct and Indirect Paths to Problems SolvingWhen you approach a problem directly, your dog's understanding of the required behavior should be the same as yours. When you approach a problem indirectly, you solve a problem by causing the correct behavior to happen. Here are a few examples to further explain direct and indirect approaches to solving problems.
Perfecting the Dumbbell Pick-up, Part 2I hope you enjoyed my message and video about Perfecting the Dumbbell Pickup. I provided you with the first three steps I use to teach dogs that it matters how they pick up a dumbbell. The steps are intended to explain to a dog that he simply does not have time to hit the dumbbell with his feet. Watch this video for the next steps in the technique I use to teach a dog that it matters how he picks up a dumbbell.
Perfecting the Dumbbell Pickup One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is about dogs that have poor dumbbell pick-ups. Some dogs hit the dumbbell with their feet, some push it with their nose, but in either case, they lose points for a poor pick-up. Teaching a dog that it matters how he picks a dumbbell up is tricky. The technique I use includes several steps. The first three steps are demonstrated in the following video.
Wrong in the Ring Webinar - April 18thThanks for your responses to my video series about mistakes that only happen in the ring. So many of you have contacted me with questions and comments. I am creating a list of your questions about "mistakes that only happen in the ring" such as the dog that brings back more than one glove, freezes on the drop signal, wanders around on his finishes, fails to sit at go-out or takes steps after giving him the stand signal.

I am planning a one-hour webinar on Wednesday, April 18 at 7:00 p.m. to answer these questions and as many others as I possibly can - so keep sending them to me! To participate in this FREE webinar, you must own a copy of Wrong in the Ring (as a digital obedience guide or E-Book). If you do not own Wrong in the Ring, there is still time to purchase it before the webinar.
Communicating About MistakesDogs are situational. If we allow mistakes in the ring, we risk teaching our dogs that they can perform differently in the ring than they do in training. You can plan better than that!
Make the Exercise StrongerLast week I began a discussion about mistakes that only seem to happen in the ring. I first suggested that you spend time "training like you show." I then asked you to try to cause the error your dog is making in the ring while you are training. Did you discover that it was easy to cause the error? If so, watch this video for information about how to prevent the error from happening in the ring by making the exercise stronger.
Fixing Problems that ONLY Occur in the RingSpring is a busy time of year for us. We have new goals for our dogs and are ready to start pursuing them in the ring. With all of our training and planning, however, we are reminded of the frustrating problems we may encounter. These are the problems that only seem to happen in the ring. Do you have problems that only happen in the ring? If so, watch this video for some ideas that might help you fix them.
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: Goals and Techniques The 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.
Teaching the New Command Discrimination ExerciseWe 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.