Pick a Dog Training Challenge . . .

Posted on 11/14/11 34 Comments

Today I kick off a new 10 day on-line dog training web-fest; I can’t quite come up with a name for it . . . maybe you guys can help. Will it be ClickerDogs Extravaganza? Or SayYes-Fest? Or maybe Do-Land-Palooza? Whadda you got?


Anyway I will be posting a series of webinars that will all wrap up with the re-launch of my 5 Minute Formula to a Brilliant recall or “Recallers” as we affectionately refer to it around here.

The focus of this series is really on games and finding JOY I think it is very sad when I see people playing joylessly with their dogs. They go through the motions of a great dog training game but the passion is not there for either the dog or them!

Sad for everyone because if this is you I know you would want to change the dynmaics of your game playing and I would like to help make that change. The first webinar is about the role of Game Playing. Here is my big reveal. I have tons and tons of different games I play with my dogs, the reason; because I have had so many dog training challenges.

I have owned a number different dogs over the years (and trained many more than I didn’t own). Each of these dogs presented me with new (and sometimes very bizarre challenges). For me, the answer to each of these of my dog training issues has been games; a new challenge means a new game.

So be sure to check out the webinar and start thinking of your next new game. Today I am very grateful for Lynda, Jason, Andrea, John, Gary & Melissa for all of their help allowing me to get all of the idea out of my head and out to all of you! Heres hoping the chattering monkeys lie quietly tonight:).


  1. Alexis says:
    Monday, November 21, 2011 at 5:05pm

    I can’t view the videos. I got the confirmation e-mail and went to watch the stand video, but when I tried to click on the next one, it just takes me to the recallers subscription page. If I go back to the link in the e-mail it also just takes me to the subscription page. Help!


  2. Jitka says:
    Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 3:40pm

    Trying to get there through different mails since Wednesday and still nothing. I really don’t want to miss this 🙁 Is there anything I can do??


    • Susan says:
      Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 3:52pm

      Hey Jitka, just contact Melissa, she will help you out, her email address is melissa AT clickerdogs DOT com (but of course put together like a normal email address).


  3. Jess says:
    Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 3:54am

    The email isn’t coming through for me either, and using my work email is not an option. 🙁


  4. Terrie says:
    Friday, November 18, 2011 at 10:44pm

    I watched your “stand” game, and tried it with my young Cattle Dog tonight. I’d already taught touch with him, so it worked right away. Steady treating to keep him up worked well.
    But when I tried it with my older dog, a Schip, I realized that I needed to take up your challenge and create different games to address other problems. Due to my poor training in the past, (lack of clear criteria, consistency, and poor clicker skills) she tends to get ‘frantic’ and offer many behaviours quickly. She knows ‘touch’ but promptly drops back into a sit. She did this so fast after the touch, I couldn’t ‘catch’ her in a stand and keep feeding her there. If I did manage that, she took the treats so hard I almost lost my fingers.

    So tonight I played the ‘calm nibble’ game.
    Put her in a down (to promote a bit more calmness) and I sit on the floor. I hold a treat in my hand and slowly…open it. If she moves to it, I close the hand. The gentler she is, the more it opens, until it’s open and she’s not looking at it, but she’s close. If she grabs, the hand closes. If she slowly nibbles…she gets it.
    I don’t know if I can click in this case, but maybe a ‘yes’ timed to when she moves her muzzle slowly?

    Susan, thanks for getting the ‘big ideas’ out there in the dog training world; behavioural problems =opportunities to create new games.

    As a beginning dog trainer, many experienced instructors and dog people ‘told’ me to be consistent and have criteria, but your DVD Crate Games actually TAUGHT me how to do that.
    Thank you so much.


  5. Willy says:
    Friday, November 18, 2011 at 12:49pm

    I think you should call it the “Strive for Joyathon” or perhaps the “Strive for Joy Training Extravaganza”


  6. Kim says:
    Friday, November 18, 2011 at 4:26am

    Not everybody has the opportunity to shop around for obedience classes till they find one that perfectly fits their prefered style. So we make do.
    That does not mean that I dont train the way I want at home. I just dont flash it in class that much.

    I think people should realise that most dogtrainers still train ‘the old way’. That does not mean they train in a bad way. Most of them have a pretty good understandig of what they are doing and are not harming the dog.
    Its just not 100% of what we want. But if the other 80% is right, why drop the classes when you can focus on the other 20 at home?


    • Melissa Blazak says:
      Friday, November 18, 2011 at 2:00pm

      Totally understand where you’re coming from. I really am lucky to train where I do, she is fabulous and if Rudy was allowed to he would drag me up to the building!


  7. Lisa says:
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 8:50pm

    everyone keeps committing on obedience classes that aren’t with joy,,, I have trained my dog through shaping and enjoying a love for formal obedience,,, yes I get some crazy things in the ring ( this weekend instead of a drop on recall I got a dog coming so fast he couldn’t stop till he was at me and then I got a backup, stand tall and drop) much to everyone’s delight… but everytime I enter I know he has learned all the skills and truly doesn’t feel like he’s ever been corrected and I’m smiling too,
    ps scores are nice too 197 and 198.5 on his first too open legs
    and he’s a bouvier


    • Melissa Blazak says:
      Friday, November 18, 2011 at 1:56pm

      Wow that’s great!


  8. Melissa Blazak says:
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 9:33am

    @Kim and @Gabi.
    This is my first performance dog. We are training in open right now but haven’t yet got our CD. I am lucky in that I have great obedience trainers that let me do what’s best for MY dog. Sure they tell me and show me how to do stuff because they have a heck of a lot more experience than I do, but if I don’t feel comfortable doing something with Rudy then I ask for a suggestion or try to find a way to do it that suits us. It might take us longer to get our titles, but that’s OK with me. Either find another trainer, or keep taking the class but incorporate what you KNOW you want to do with your dog. Tugging, play, etc. Maybe it will open their eyes. Unfortunately you have to be an advocate for you and your dog in that situation. It’s hard sometimes to speak up when you have no experience and someone with 20 or 30 years in that sport is telling you how and what to do.
    Here is a link to the video I made for Recallers 3.0. I wish I could have figured out how to add music but I ran out of time. In it you will see Rudy tugging on his dumbell….something that my trainer encouraged us to do in our beginner open class. He LOVES his dumbell!


    • Shelley says:
      Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 4:59pm

      Love ya video!


    • Kim says:
      Friday, November 18, 2011 at 4:16am

      Thank you Melissa, that video was awesome! I love his face in the last shot. Its amazing how many different things you do with Rudy. That sure is one happy puppy 😀


  9. Dianne Marshall says:
    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 4:31pm

    We have so much that needs work. So many games to keep playing. I had planned to build games for distance downs and sits but the weatherman put a quick stop to that with 1 to 2 weeks of -30F to -40F now. So regroup and I am going for really good sits in the RZ. I have to tighten my criteria after watch my video and all the out takes you didn’t see I am pretty sloppy on what I will take. Game time all around the house now. Have I got ideas and fun. I need to plant “cookie” jars all around so I don’t miss an opportunity to play. There are already toys and tugs always within easy reach.


  10. Linda Knowles says:
    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 11:42am

    I like Do Land Palooza!


  11. Debra Jones says:
    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 10:48am

    “Once you cross it’s borders (Having Joy in Do Land) you’ll never want to return to ‘joyless’ training again….

    So looking forward to Recallers 3.0, Susan!!! Lovin your Webfest!! :o}


  12. Brenda says:
    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 8:04am


    Watched the first video today about teaching my dog to stand. A quick question as I am new to all this. Should I teach the three steps, one right after another? Or should I teach step one and then work on it for a while before moving to step two of the process? Just wondering if I should be working on all the steps as a whole or in parts.

    Thanks in advance!


  13. Gabi says:
    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 2:00am

    today i’ve been to our first obedience class. i wanted to give it a try as i really liked the judging and the thoughts behind it. BUT today the instructor told us that from next year on it is forbidden to play with our dog inbetween exercises! she argued that people take their dogs out of concentration(focus) and let them be too aroused. Its sooo sad! I really think about quitting! When i get/let my dog to be overaroused this only my mistake i really don’t get the sense behind this new regulations and it makes me sad to know i’m not ALLOWED to have fun with my dog when i want to compete in obedience!
    Today i sadly noticed again that i’m one of a few (at least here in austria) who tries to train completely different from what is common in dog schools around here.
    Thank you Susan for our ideas and also the community of recallers! you give me faith that i’m not alone with this way of training! Although sometimes i really wish you could live closer to Austria!


    • Kara Grogan says:
      Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 10:17am

      I’ve been there. When I first started agility training with my Cavalier, the instructor would SCREAM at me “Don’t let that dog play!!!” I stuck it out for a few months, and started leaving class with a rotten, miserable attitude and stress hives on the back of my neck. Then we got the heck out of there. Unfortunately for my little guy, it left a lasting impression. I have been working to bring that play drive back for a long time… My advise – GET OUT OF THERE PRONTO!


      • Connie Macchione says:
        Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 3:05pm

        Kara, your post makes me so sad 🙁 For those of us who’ve been around awhile it is easier to just walk away, but for newbies who are not sure what is going on it’s a lot harder. I was at a lure coursing practice last weekend, open to all breeds. Apparently it had been advertised in the local paper and a nice young couple came to see how their lab cross youngster would do. It was obvious they just wanted to have fun with their dog, who was quite hyper. She wanted to play with all the dogs there, which the host definitely frowned upon. All the dogs were on lead–it wasn’t going to get out of hand. I let her play a little with my JRT, who is very friendly. More frowns from the host, who finally said “WE DON’T WANT THE DOGS TO PLAY!!!” [What??? Isn’t running after prey a game for the dogs?] The couple looked confused and a little hurt, and left after one run. I so hope this does not sour them on ever doing anything “Fun” with their sweet little dog again.

    • Kim says:
      Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 5:06am

      I know the problem. I am training at two different dogschools here in Holland.

      The first is my obedienceclass which is still stuck with the primeval idea that tugging makes for a dominant dog. My dog is a very active, play driven dog. She can go absolutely mad when tugging, and I love it! She is so easily motivated to work for me when tugging, but no. She’s a dominant one! Who should never be let near anyting even remotely tuggable. (Or on the couch, or on the bed, or snuggled up in my lap in front of the tv… shhh, don’t tell.) So I dont tug in obedience class. I still go. Apart from the tugging, the lessons are very good. And me and my dog are in need of some basic obedience.

      The agilityclass however follows the same methods Susan uses (and some others like Silvia Trkman). They not only encourage tugging and playing between sessions, they use it as a training method.

      I wish everyone could see it that way.


    • Michelle says:
      Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 5:48pm

      I would quit that class in a hurry. Or show your trainer this website and perhaps educate her that dogs having fun can learn too.


  14. Julia says:
    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 12:03am

    All sorted – email arrived today. Thank You for the webinar, fantastic as always.


  15. Jean says:
    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 12:39pm

    Signed up and very excited to move forward working with my new Irish Terrier, Murphy. Terriers love to play games and am looking to build more on this.


  16. Nancy says:
    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 10:41am

    No email with at link for me either. 🙁 I don’t think it is my spam blocker, but just in case, Susan what e-mail address do I need to add to safe sender?


  17. Kathryn says:
    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 10:19am

    What to call it? Do-vember, of course.


  18. Caroline McKinney says:
    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:54am

    There is no “form below” when watching on a mac using Safari


  19. Kristi says:
    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:25am

    For what it’s worth, I had the same problem Julia did and clicked the “powered by AWeber” button. Got a customer service person (Kevin) by clicking on-line chat, explained the issue, he fixed it up and got me going right away. Great service!


  20. Kristi says:
    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:08am

    Personally, I like “10 day on-line dog training web-fest”. It’s descriptive, “fest”ive, and might catch some of those, “I don’t need games. I’m serious about training my dog.” people who might not otherwise look.


  21. Julia says:
    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 8:13am

    Signed on for webinar access earlier today and never received a confirmation email. Tried to sign on again and it won’t let me, I get a message telling me to confirm my subscription following the link in the email which I never received.
    Is anyone else having problems or is it just me for some reason?


    • Riitta says:
      Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:20am

      I have the same problem. Didnt get the email.


    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:25am

      Yeah guys there is an issue with our email subscription provider. They have been informed and are looking into it. The only “quick fix” is to wait 30 minutes and then try again WITH A DIFFERENT email address. Hopefully we will have a better answer for you soon.


    • Jitka says:
      Friday, November 18, 2011 at 7:45am

      Same problem here. Did different mail worked for you? I’m trying to get there through different mails but still nothing…


  22. Judith Batchelor says:
    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 6:58am

    Your webinar reminded me of part of a lyric from a tune in Mary Poppins.

    In ev’ry job that must be done
    There is an element of fun
    You find the fun and snap!
    The job’s a game

    Just a thought


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