A Foray

By Janice Gunn

  • Wednesday, March 22, 2017 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Written by Janice Gunn

    I like to start this process by sitting on a swivel seat that is placed on a 5 gallon bucket.   My first step is to teach my dog that there is food in my mouth and that he can learn to catch it.   So I will show the dog or puppy with two hands that I am placing food into my mouth while I am sitting on the bucket, I will make blowing noises so it keeps the dog focused upwards while my hands go to my sides, then I will spit to food to my dog, and say "get it".  Do this until your dog or puppy can catch the food, or, understands where the food is coming from.  This procedure is setting your "focal point" where you want your dog to look when they are coming in to front position.  You can also teach them how to catch in the house, throwing popcorn is a good step to take and they enjoy the game.   Once that is established, you can start to throw the food off to the side and then encourage your dog into front position.  I prefer to keep my hands at my sides (when my dog is returning to me and fronting)  and use blowing noises to encourage the dog to look up at my face.  One thing that SO many people get hung up on is using their hands to guide the dog into front position,  and in turn the hands become part of how the behaviour is done and it is difficult to convince the dog otherwise when you try to remove your hands from the picture, i.e. muscle memory sets in.  

    Sitting on a bucket is the best place to start this as your face is not far from the dog and they can connect easier than when you are standing.   I do not teach small dogs to look at my face, it is to far up and they tend to sit away from you in front position so they can see your face.  Small dogs have a lower focal point, perhaps my waist area or my knees depending on the size of the dog.   

    Make throwing the treat fun, it will keep your dog enthusiastic and wanting to keep trying, and in turn, fronts can be fun and not a boring, drilling process.  

    The video shows how I use my legs as chutes for the dog to learn how to come in straight, and I am also introducing off angle fronts at this time.   This is part one of a video series I will be releasing on how I teach fronts.   I hope you enjoy the learning process, 

    Happy Training!

  • Sunday, January 01, 2017 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Written by Janice Gunn

    I came up with this exercise many years ago, when I first started field training.   In retriever field training we do something called a wagon wheel drill, altho it is different than this, it does have components to it where the dog really needs to focus on lining up correctly and focusing where they are to go and then following thru with going where sent. I choose not to use my gloves on this exercise but rather a treat on a white target plate. 

    This makes it not only more fun for your dog, but also more challenging! You can start by lining your dog up to the different plates and sending them prior to adding in the turn and  send which is much harder. You can also start with only loading the plate you want the dog to go to with a treat so that he is not rewarded for going to the wrong plate.  As I have done this exercise before with Mighty he makes it look easy, but it is challenging.  Start with your plates further apart and build them closer on success.  If your dog goes to the wrong plate in the beginning, there is no treat on it.  On your second send give the signal and walk with him past the teaser plate and then let him go to the plate you wanted.    I use target plates - or what I call cookie on a plate (which was Patty Ruzzo’s coined term whom introduced plates for obedience exercises 20 plus years ago) for almost every exercise I train in obedience.  It is one way to take the formal out of obedience and put the fun in! 

    Happy Training!

  • Thursday, December 01, 2016 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Written by Janice Gunn

    This video is about Modeling Utility Signals.  Previously I did a video clip on the same but with Go-Outs.  Pounce was a very green dog on go outs and using this method really helped to give her confidence and excitement.  In this video she is new"ish" to doing signals, so I decided to incorporate Remi, a more experienced signal dog to work with her side by side.  On my first down signal Remi had a brief hope that I was releasing him to his treat bag, but then re-considered (good proofing!) and followed thru with the down.  

    You can see Pounce, looking at Remi doing the down and I believe that helped to convey to her that yes, that's what the signal means!   I did another down signal set up and they both did it  fluently.  Then I set up for the sit signal and Pounce couldn't follow thru so you will see in the video what I did for her non-compliance response.   Setting my dogs up to do signals side by side is not something they are familiar with so this in itself was new to them, but now they are familiar with it, this is a really fun exercise for them to do and a way to do signals that is "out of the box".   Also incorporating the treat bag behind them ensures they really need to concentrate on my cue, to get what they really want, the reward!  Classic Premack Principle!   If you like the treat bag idea they are available at our store at www.tntkennels.com.

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