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CONCEPT TRAINING: How Concept Training Could Be Your Ticket to Speedy Training with Less Frustration for Your Dog

February 11

6:00 pm PT

This talk is eligible for CEUs from: CCPDT - Training, IAABC, KPA


Ever wondered how you could possibly “speed up” your dog’s training or understanding of XYZ? Ever wondered how you could improve your dog’s decision making? I fully believe the ticket to speedy training or acquisition of skills if you will, lies within thinking about training as concepts otherwise known and often referred to as “Concept Training.”

When we teach a skill or behaviour, we’re not teaching the foundations of those skills or behaviours in isolation. We are in fact slotting those skills or behaviours into what I refer to as “foundation concepts.” We’re teaching behaviours, their rules and how to apply them within a specific task and then we apply them to new and novel situations, even new combinations which we call generalization.

If the rules of the game within one concept are clear and consistent, you’ll find your dog is often able to apply those “rules” to novel situations and other NEW combinations of behaviours much faster – hence speedier training and versatility. By thinking of training itself as an overall “concept,” you’ll not only expand your dog’s repertoire creating new learning experiences but be creating an awesome decision maker in the process. Thinking in concept training terms allows us to improve upon focus to the task at hand and add flexibility in thinking for our dogs. By developing a thinking dog who can switch gears we can even lessen or build resilience against frustration during the acquisition of new skills.

In this presentation, we’ll take a quick look at and discuss what Concept Training is as its most often referred to and currently known and the foundation basics required. Then we’ll take a look at the how and why concept training rules and the categories such as Match To Sample, Adduction, Modifiers and even Mimicry benefits your overall training scenario. We’ll explore how, due to the nature of concept training, we can lessen the frustration our dogs can often have if we’re not following the set of concept rules and therefore not offering consistent communication. We’ll talk about how skills = concepts = skills, new skills, or combinations of skills. Finally, we’ll delve in and look at why how skilled your dog is in any one behaviour can determine and help them in applying the “concept rules” they’ve learned to other situations or environments. You’ll not only be improving how your dog learns but you’ll also be taking your skills as a trainer to new levels.

Presented By:

Heather Lawson, CPDT-KSA, KPA-CTP

Heather (she/her) is a Certified Trainer (CCPDT-KSA) with the CCPDT, and Certified Trainer through the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA-CTP). She is the owner and director of training at her company dogWISE Training & Behaviour Center in North Vancouver, Canada where the main focus is lifestyle skills training for the urban and family dog. Heather is active in Obedience and Dog sports with her own dogs, trialing dogs to Top 10 in Canada. She is a Canadian Kennel Club Canine Good Neighbour Evaluator (CGN) and volunteers as a St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog Evaluator.

In addition, Heather is an instructor for Fenzi Dog Sports Academy where she teaches popular courses focusing on various topics such as Hound About Town-Urban Dog Life Skills, Therapy Dog Ready, Match To Sample & Modifiers Concepts and the TEAM Titles Levels – an obedience foundation program developed by Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.