Junior Handling Reporting on Puppy Peaks Training Month 5
This month it was fun for me to find out that Libby is giving back to her community by being a 4-H leader. 4-H has grown around the world in their mission of “engaging youth” to reach their fullest potential. Seeing Libby spreading positive training to fellow juniors is very exciting. Libby herself a junior trainer/handler giving back already as a youth makes me smile ear to ear!
Here is Libby’s Month 5 Puppy Peaks review.
Puppy Peaks: Month 5
I am the obedience trainer for our local 4-H Dog Club.
The club meets each week and teaches kids ages 9-18 how to train their dogs in obedience, rally, showmanship, and agility. I try to introduce different trainers to the kids so they can learn more about training in general. This week I thought I would talk to them a little bit about Susan Garrett.
All the kids love doing agility with their dogs, so when I told them a few of the things Susan has accomplished in agility, they started paying closer attention 🙂
I tried to think of a basic exercise that the kids could try with their dogs, and something that would make it possible for a few of them to have success. Because “ItsYerChoice” is important and not too complicated, I decided to teach it to them and see how it went.
At first, almost everyone was standing up, holding the cookie in his or her hand, above the dog’s head. This either made the dog jump up in an attempt to get the cookie, or the dog gave up and ignored it since it was too far away. Once the kids put their hand at the dog’s nose level, they started catching on and understanding the process.
There was one dog who was very food motivated; he was trying to get the cookie out of the girl’s hand using multiple methods, but the girl did great and kept her fist closed while he was trying to eat her entire hand. After some practice, the dog was sitting and waiting attentively until she delivered the cookie to him. It was great to see how happy she was after the dog succeeded, and how happy the dog was, since he figured it out!
Waiting for your dog to make the right choice is not the typical method for dog training. Usually a kid’s first thought is to bribe or force a dog to do what they want, but this is not as effective or nearly as fun for the dog. ItsYerChoice reframes the request so that the dog is on your team and is doing what you want because they want to do it as well. But it definitely takes more thought on the trainer’s part and requires a new way of thinking – quite a challenge for young kids.
All the kids ended up doing really well; they enjoyed watching their dogs think and problem solve. IYC helped show them the importance of letting the dog use its brain, and how letting a dog think for itself will help create a dog that enjoys working for you.
Thanks Libby! Today I am grateful for Libby’s enthusiasm to give back to her community and share a fun foundation game with her 4-H’ers!