Day 3

Monday, May 25th

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Close the Loop: Training for Optimal Reinforcement

What does your dog do when he hears a click? Chances are, he doesn’t just sit there like a bump on a pickle. Whether you want it to or not, your event marker will function as a cue for some behavior. And then after the reinforcement is collected, you must somehow get your dog back to the starting position again for the next repetition, because the movement cycle isn’t complete until the animal is in position to repeat the behavior. If we consider the reinforcement collection as a behavior itself, we can train it like we would any other behavior. That means we can build fluency and put it on cue. And guess what? Those cues will act as event markers. But just collecting reinforcement, like eating a treat or chasing a ball, doesn’t finish the job. Depending on how and where you reinforce, your dog may already be in position to repeat the behavior, or you may need one or more additional behaviors to bring your dog back to the starting position (and get the toy back, if applicable). So the entire training loop may actually be functioning as a behavior chain, with each link serving as the cue for the next behavior, all leading your dog back to the beginning of the loop. Of course, like any behavior chain, to be effective, each behavior in that chain must be fluent and under stimulus control. By being aware of this effect, the behaviors you want included in the chain can be deliberately trained to optimize the effect of your reinforcement procedure, and avoid building unwanted behaviors into loop. In this presentation, we will explore the use and benefits of training specific reinforcement behaviors, including eating food or playing with a toy, to fluency and stimulus control to effectively and efficiently reinforce the desired behavior and reset for the next repetition.

Frustration in Shelter Dogs

Frustration is identified as a motivator in a range of behavior problems in companion animals. But what is frustration, really? This talk helps us get a clearer understanding of what reinforcers are driving the behavior of “frustrated” animals, both in a shelter and home environment. We’ll also learn how we can help these animals in our care.

Humane Use of Negative Reinforcement in the Real World

Negative Reinforcement has been a "dirty word phrase" in the positive training community, yet it is happening all the time. in this lecture, we discuss ways to control this and even use this technique in a humane manner to augment our positive reinforcement practices.

Train This Now! The Short List for Your New Puppy

Bringing home a new puppy? Or does your adult dog have some basic holes in their foundation? Here are the start points. The nuts and bolts of five different skill sets to get you off on the right foot together. We'll look at Potty Skills, Reinforcement Skills, Restraint Skills, Name Skills, and Social Skills. What you should start right away and what can wait. What you can condition in the first few weeks together that will help you the most as your dog grows up. Ideas and demonstrations of how to use classical conditioning as well as operant training to get the most benefit for your relationship. The approaches that work best with that receptive and flexible baby brain.

Shaping the Future: Constructional Training Plan Design, a Consultant’s Process

Traditionally, training plan designs loosely sketch out a linear series of steps and identified behaviors to be taught or modified. The hierarchy of trained behaviors are selected and dealt with as single unrelated units and often based on specific needs as opposed to what our learners need to acquire first for their whole life.  In constructional behavior design, trainers consider behavior as a cluster of actions that are interlinked as components of a larger behavioral picture.  Using three training case studies, we will examine trainer, consultant, and institutional bias and their impact on animal behavior, training methodologies, training plan construction, and the core components of behavior these learners needed to learn over the arc of their life.

Nature vs. Nurture: The Chicken-Egg Conundrum

A dog’s behavior is a combination of extrinsic influences impacting the dog’s genetics. This presentation explores how the early environment, experiences, socialization, and many other outside influences impact behavior throughout the dog’s life. Understanding how some behavior problems can be exacerbated or avoided is critical information for behavior consultants and trainers. Topics include the development of body language, bonding, pack and play behavior, species-specific discipline and normal behavioral changes throughout the dog’s life, plus puppy selection procedures designed to evaluate temperament and personality predispositions for appropriate placement.

Ideas that Should Die: Training Myths & Misconceptions

The inertia that results from so-called conventional wisdom about how behavior works is a big obstacle to the widespread adoption of positive reinforcement-based training. Discussions quickly devolve into rancorous debates based on little more than personal opinions and political affiliations. One example is the intrinsic vs. extrinsic reinforcement debate. Resulting from the many myths and misunderstandings, learners fail to benefit from the wellspring of information that is the result of decades of application of the technology of behavior change known as applied behavior analysis (ABA). At the center of this problem is the deeply rooted belief that behavior exists inside individuals, independent of the conditions in which they behave. In this presentation, common myths and misunderstandings will be discussed so that participants are better able to address them.

You Are Not a Fraud! The Reality of Impostor Syndrome and What You Can Do About It

Ever felt inadequate? Like a faker? In dog training, coaching or life you have nearly certainly experienced this or encountered someone who feels this way. Why does that happen? Join Andrea to explore the studies and science of Impostor Syndrome and why it's a misnomer and then spend some time looking at specific implementable ways to overcome it - or at least suppress it long enough to accomplish what you need or want. We'll also explore how to support colleagues and students suffering from this. Andrea is already looking forward to a wide-ranging and interesting Question and Answer session at the end of the presentation!

Modifying Resource Guarding Behavior – Just Pee on Your Dog’s Toys?

Out of all the “types” of aggressive behaviors in dogs, resource guarding is one that has so much conflicting advice available online, it can be difficult for pet owners to wade through the sea of information (or misinformation!). Yes, “peeing on your dog’s toys” is just one of the misguided (and gross!) recommendations out there on the Internet. In this presentation, Michael will dispel some of the common, and not so common misconceptions related to resource guarding behavior. He will also highlight effective behavior change strategies and include several case studies with video demonstrating progress from start to finish.

Anatomy of Attention: When VAN Ran Over DAN and Other Distracting Tales

In the dog training community, a great deal of effort goes into teaching dogs “attention.” But what does that mean? Staring into the handler’s eyes? Moving in an abnormal position gazing at a toy? Ignoring all distractions? Maintaining focus? Working for hours on end? Be willing to eat all the chicken and cheese we dole out? Is a dog’s attention span based on his age, sex, or breed? However we may define it, here’s the reality: We can get frustrated and confused when a dog doesn’t (can’t?) focus, or won’t give us his attention no matter how much we know or how good our timing may be. We’re smart trainers, so we know it’s not dominance or being stubborn or blowing us off but sometimes, we’re left scratching our own heads and asking, “What’s really going on in that dog’s head?” Let’s take a deep dive into Attention, which is an awfully big, vague label for many complex interactions and networks in the mammalian brain. At any given moment, a dog’s brain (like yours!) is juggling: different types of attention alertness and arousal sensory sensitivities and deficits internal and external factors focus and distractions individual attention span Understanding what’s at work in that canine brain (and your own, and your clients!) helps you make good choices for the dogs in our hands. We’ll look at: the 4 main functions of conscious attention cognitive resources – expending a limited commodity how expectations and salience affect attention what captures attention? temperament and sensory awareness to Carnegie Hall and beyond (the value of practice) When you are clear what factors may be at work with any individual dog, it becomes easier to select appropriate techniques, use thinner slices, shift your expectations or simply help the handler see what the dog is saying and doing. Armed with an understanding of the anatomy of attention and the individual dog, we can align our goals and expectations with who that dog truly is. When we know how to engage the astonishing power of intrinsic motivation, we can —– SQUIRREL! (Just kidding…unless you are really into squirrels?) — make the most of every dog’s capacity for attention.

A History of Animal Training & the Brelands: A Personal Perspective

As trainers and behavior consultants, we stand on the shoulders of giants. The science of learning has a deep history, and the early applications of operant conditioning are the stuff of legend. In his keynote general address, Dr. Bob Bailey takes us back to our earliest beginnings right up to the present moment. We’ll learn where effective animal training really began, and where the science behind it is leading us into the future.

Can an In-Shelter Test Predict Separation-Related Problem Behavior in Dogs?

Separation-related problem behaviors (SRPB) is a common problem in dogs and a common cause of their relinquishment. Despite its severity and prevalence there is little research on the prediction of SRPB. Being able to predict SRPB in shelter dogs would help shelters identify at-risk dogs and allocate pre- and post-adoption resources to those dogs, including providing more targeted behavior counseling and better placement decisions. In this talk, we will discuss the current state of scientific literature on characteristics of dogs or owners that correlate with dogs exhibiting SRPB and then delve into our own behavioral study on predicting SRPB. We tested whether we could predict post-adoption behavior of stray shelter dogs from an in-shelter test. We tested 27 shelter dogs. After interacting with the dog for 30 min, we left it alone in the room and video-recorded its behavior. We coded behaviors associated with SRPB as well as those not associated with SRPB (e.g., play or passive behavior). Dogs additionally wore an activity monitor, and we collected salivary cortisol at three time points. Finally, we contacted adopters approximately 6 mos after adoption to determine dogs’ at-home behavior. We assessed the time-course of different behaviors of individual dogs across the 30 min test as well as the individual dogs’ time allocation between different behaviors. We will discuss the relationships between behavior on an in-shelter test, activity monitor data, changes in cortisol, and post-adoption behavior and what that means for predicting dogs' needs in shelters and after adoption.

Impulsivity and Hyperactivity

Can dogs have ADHD? A look at recent work on impulsivity and hyperactivity in dogs. As professionals, we often attribute hyperactive and impulsive behavior to age and lack of exercise, training, and/or enrichment. But is it possible that something else is going on in some dogs? Owners often joke that their dogs have ADHD. Could this be true? What do we actually know about impulsivity and hyperactivity in dogs? How can you use this information to more effectively address these behaviors in dogs?

Zen and the Art of Impulse Control

Most people would agree that we’d like our dogs to have the ability to be zen; to chill out and relax when the situation calls for it. In addition, we’d like them to think before they act. Mindless reactivity can be difficult to live with and manage in our dogs. In this presentation Dr. Deb Jones is going to discuss her views on zen and the concept of impulse control. She will talk about the common usage of such terms as well as her working definitions, and issues with the terminology and application. She will talk about the advantages of teaching a dog to be zen and demonstrate specific exercises that can encourage thought before action. In particular, Deb will focus on both the art and the science of zen work. A clear understanding of the major underlying scientific principles will be very helpful to excellent application and execution of the techniques. Deb will discuss the importance of designated markers, introduce her foundation “bowl” games, and demonstrate the place/drop/toss technique to build fluency. She will talk about developing control around food and toys, and also consider broader generalization issues and applications.

Joy of Heeling – Coloring Outside the Lines

“Joy of Heeling” – Sounds like an oxymoron. On the one hand you have an emotion and expression of enjoyment and on the other you have the physically and mentally demanding requirement of precision and accuracy. And yet we know it’s attainable. We see it in those electrifying teams that inspire us, that motivate us and give us the picture, the vision of what heeling could be. That vision often includes words like precision and accuracy. Does it go beyond that to include enthusiasm, energy, lift, spark and joy? These are the attributes that make heelwork beautiful to behold, exciting to train and yes! Fun for both dog and handler! By building animation, energy and enthusiasm as a separate piece from precision, we can increase the rate of reward for each, creating value and joy in our heelwork training and performance. This session will focus on games and exercises that bring joy to your heelwork training and performance.

From Freaked out to Fabulous! Mental Preparation for Competitive Dog Sports

Does just the thought of competing make you nervous? Do you get sick to your stomach, sweaty, anxious and have difficulty focusing? You are not alone! Why is it that top competitors seem calm and completely in control? The difference is mental preparation. Top competitors don’t just train their dogs, they work on their mental game as well! The good news is that there are many simple techniques you can use to bring your mental game to the next level. With daily practice utilizing the skills in this webinar I not only overcame my ring nerves but now enjoy competition. We will explore a variety of techniques that you can implement immediately. With some practice, you too can conquer your ring nerves!

Making Patterns Out of Lemons: Using the Control Unleashed Pattern Games

Got a dog that worries about stuff? Leslie will show you how to quickly and effectively help them feel and function better using the CU Pattern Games. Learn how to implement two highly potent tools, Patterns and Voluntary Behavior, in order to create A predictable, repetitive set of rules that lowers anxiety by telling him what to expect and when. A way for him to control his experience--enabling him to direct his behavior mod by communicating start, stop, go towards or away from something. These games are very simple, confidence-building on both sides of the leash, and fun! Come explore them with Leslie!

Is Positive Permissive? A Positive Parent’s Guide to Raising and Training Dogs and Puppies

If you are already familiar with the concepts and techniques of raising children without using physical punishments or emotional intimidation (positive parenting) and yet with dogs you find yourself stuck when trying to work with these ideas, then this webinar is for you! With kids, you naturally apply concepts like redirection and living with predictable structure but with your dogs? Not so much! Puppy mouthing your arm? You have no idea what to do! Dog doesn’t want to go into his crate or is hyper in the house and making you miserable? You’re paralyzed! Dog is nervous of your neighbor when you go for a walk? You’re a deer in the headlights! This webinar will help you translate what you know about handling a cranky, difficult, fearful or overly-enthusiastic typical toddler into an approach that will allow you to handle situation after situation with your dogs in real time without questioning yourself. If you want to raise a dog that fits well into your home and society then this webinar will help you take what you already know about positive parenting and help you apply it to your dogs.

Broken Stay? Here’s How to Fix It!

Is your dog struggling with stay? Perhaps you are having trouble adding distance or distractions? Or maybe your dog just won’t stay for a period of time? Whether your problem is relaxed downs or short stays amongst distractions, this workshop is for you! We will discuss why training a stay today is different than what it used to be, and why you might be making learning the stay more difficult for your dog. We will cover different types of stays needed in competition versus real life, and we’ll talk about training plans for both. When you are finished with this workshop, you will be left with all the steps to teach fabulous competition stays and truly relaxed down stays!

Happy Crating

Crates can be an excellent management for dogs and puppies alike. A dog who crates happily can travel easily, doesn't have to be trained perfectly for that dinner party, and will have an easier time at the vet, groomer, and kennel. A puppy that crates well is easy to house train, and just plain easier to raise! The old days of letting puppies "cry it out" in crates are over, along with other aversive techniques like bark collars and spray bottles. But how do we help our dogs settle happily in their crates, without flooding or developing a dependency on food? Sarah will cover smart antecedents, training scenarios, and strategies for producing a dog that sees the crate as a place to relax, much like you see your own bed or sofa.

Using the Deep Accessible Hide to Build Environmental Resilience

When we think of a dog's resilience, we think of both environmental and cognitive applications. Ideally, a dog can work in new and different environments and can be impervious to frustration or worry of failure. These two qualities are super important in the development of our canine partners in the sport of Nosework ... in fact, through careful training, this can be a huge boon for dogs regardless of competitive aspirations! Nosework is often touted as "confidence building", however the HOW that confidence building occurs is really the crux of whether the dog will actually reap the rewards. Using a concept of the "Deep Accessible" hide, we will demonstrate in this presentation how we can build both environmental AND cognitive resilience in the dog. The Deep Accessible is part of how the skill of Sourcing is developed. However, the very unique and amazing side effect is the impact on the dog's resilience. This presentation will both describe what is occurring and how to capture the benefits.

Fitness & Movement Behaviors for Life & Sports

Fitness is important for your dog’s health, and training fitness exercises with your dog is enriching for both dog and handler. Foundation fitness behaviors or exercises apply to more than fitness and are relatively easy to master. The exercises used in fitness increase muscle strength and improve performance, confidence, flexibility, focus, body awareness, and balance. In this presentation, a subset of foundation fitness behaviors will be shown along with how to observe and encourage proper alignment and movement. I will also show you how to set up the environment so it’s safe and inviting for fitness training. When canine fitness is taught in an empowering, enriching, safe, and reinforcing environment, dogs are engaged and appear to exude joy. In addition, following the guidelines shown in this presentation and after training these exercises over a period of weeks, many dogs navigate their environments with more confidence.