As indicated previously (Introduction to Dog Games training), when the Owner/Handler arrives and parks their car, they are to settle the dog, ensure that weather conditions are taken into account both for themselves and for the dog, who may be left in the car for 10-15 minutes.
The Owner leaves the dog in the car and comes over to book in and take the dog's name card from the box and place it in the queue (see Queueing). The Owner/Handler is unencumbered by the their dog and can watch the training in progress, chat to the others provided that the dogs in training are not distracted.
When the dog's name is called, the Owner/Handler checks to ensure that all other dogs have ben returned to their respective cars and that there are no dogs around in the training field. The Owner/Handler retrieves their dog from the car and takes the dog ON A LEAD to the indicated Lane for training. The dog's name card is returned to the box. Once the Trainer, Handler and dog are inside the Lane, the gate is closed and the Handler lets the dog off the lead. (This is the only time that the dog is let off its lead outside of the car.) The Trainer and Handler walk up and down the Lane chatting with the Trainer learning more about the dog while keeping a discrete eye on what the dog is doing, how it is behaving and the Handler picking up/cleaning up after the dog. All dogs that “think” they are being ignored by their Handler will investigate the Lane for safety and smells. (see Scent Geography of Lane). We call this -
It seems that they are checking to ensure that they (and the Handler) are safe from meeting another dog or other threats. They are also enjoying the smells and scents left by previous visitors to the Lane, human, canine and any other. There may even be some treats left over in the grass by a previous training session. The dog may even relieve himself to show how relaxed he feels in this situation. Some dogs do, others don’t but BE PATIENT and give them time as this is THEIR time and you, as the Handler, are here to learn.
When it seems that the dog feels the area is safe and he is ready to work, the dog comes to the Handler wondering what we are all doing here.
Having read this, now click on a Game to learn more about these training methods.
Having had a successful training session, a dog should not attempt another session for at least an hour. It is preferable that the stages should be done on different days so that the handler and trainer can check whether the dog has really learnt and understood the game.
If a dog is struggling with these simple Games (or in other types of training), the Trainer should break these down into smaller steps and not to overface the dog. This is all a learning curve for the Trainer, Handler and dog.
When we started and were developing these training Games, we often had dogs turn up just to walk around and read the newspaper in Lane A because this is all that they could cope with. Also this type of training was very new to the Handlers as well as the dogs. Initially, the Handlers didn't know what to expect. We provided this facility because it helped the dogs particularly if the Handler was often unable or reluctant to let the dog off the lead. But with this training area being secure and with the field gate also closed, there was little danger of the dog escaping.
Managing the situation is a very important aspect of dog training which is often overlooked, which is why we never had class events. The most number of dogs we ever had out of their cars at the same time was 2, one in each Lane to work at the Silver level; 2 in the same Lane to work at Gold level.
With this secure arrangement, we were able to deal with both extremes of the full range of dog behaviour from "lodgers" (introverted with no relationship with the Owner/Handler, just trying to survive mentally) to the hyperactive fully-stressed out dogs who had to learn to control themselves before the Trainer or Handler would play with them and reward them. Over the years, we had many referrals from local vets who were unable to cope with these patients. For several, we were the last resort otherwise the vets gave only one other alternative. I am happy to say that in the nearly 10 years training dozens, we had only 1 failure - sad to say, a lovely, willing dog but the Handler wouldn't listen, rather opinionated.
In a new Lane (environment), the dog may struggle; also with the movement and distraction of another dog nearby (but not close). If the dog is struggling, take a break. There is no rush. Try each run and see how the dog copes. If he is really struggling, go back one step, reward him and then the Game is finished. Put him back in the car, taking care to avoid any other dogs. This is classed only as training as the objective was not achieved. Within the guidelines provided, the Trainer should decide what is best for the dog at that moment, and for his next training session which could be something completely new.
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