What the Heck is Going On at Vero Beach | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

What the Heck is Going on at Vero Beach?

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My best "Bionic Woman" imitation.

I thought this picture was a hoot so I would post it and leave it to your imagination for a few days.

Masters camp is under way here at Vero Beach and everyone put in a great deal of energy into their work yesterday.

I installed the use of  some fun punishment in my teaching this year (which in fact was reinforcement in this case for one group) to accomplish what I wanted as an instructor. I set up sequences that I wanted the group to do rear crosses on. I didn’t want to tell them the “had” to rear cross because there is no one out there at a trial giving you that information. I wanted the decision to be the campers. So rather than say  you must “rear cross” I simply told them that any front crosses or serpentines they tried to do that did not have perfect “positional cues” (a Greg Derrett system terminology) that there would be a penalty. Since positional cues are so important in this system of handling I wanted to make a point of stressing this importance.

The penalty (punishment to the handler) was they had to pay $20 (which actually earned them 8 raffle tickets to a fundraiser for our IFCS world team). So in fact the punishment was actually reinforcement for the team and, depending upon the outcome of the raffle, possibly reinforcement for the handler that got the punishment!

Now before you go accusing me of being a big meanie, remember everyone could have avoided the punishment simply by trying a rear cross (there was no punishment for any errors in execution while I helped people to learnt to improve their rear crosses).   Happily for the IFCS team at this camp and the last one,  I did get people throwing caution (or money) to the wind. Every day there were people that felt that attempting the rear cross was more of a punisher than paying out the twenty bucks!  Lots of fun.

Today I am grateful to everyone that additionally bought tickets to the raffle without receiving the punishment”. Good fun by all!

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