Chad Culp’s recent piece on his blog, Thriving Canine should be required reading for all dog trainers, dog sport and disc dog handlers in particular. Thoughtful and cooperative work in everyday life and in your exercise regiment is really important. Strategic, tactical, and random reinforcement with the object of the dog’s drive for proper work is a wonderful methodology for getting Operant Drive is focus and energy applied towards work. There are many kinds of Drive: social drive, tracking drive, prey drive, bite/kill, stalking, and food to name a few. Social drive, prey drive, and bite/kill are the types of Drive most active in the game of disc dog freestyle, and are all fairly desirable. Stalking and tracking drive can be tough....
The rock concert idea is a great fit for dog sports and disc dog freestyle as well, you want to end the concert while it’s rocking to leave the dog wanting more.
Keeping training and play sessions short is the key to successful motivation training. If we keep our dogs interested and motivated, they will enjoy working with us and be much more apt to snap to it when we ask something of them. Short, fun, controlled sessions will keep your dog coming back for more and can help you avoid having an over-stimulated “ball crazy” dog with no impulse control or a dog that easily blows you off because he thinks he can get things whenever he wants.
Treats, tennis balls, tug toys, praise and affection are all like gemstones; they become more valuable when rare. They are also like sugar or wine, best if used in moderation.
Combining play sessions, obedience and exploration creates impulse control and stability
The ideas that Chad lays out in this article are quite close to our Dismissal concept, aka, “Go Do Dog Stuff…“. We use dismissal to create this arbitrary end to festivities at a time of the handler’s choosing when the dog is fully engaged, ensuring that we always leave the crowd wanting more, and then we begrudgingly are dragged out for an encore by our dog’s constant applause, in the case of lower drive dogs, or as a consequence of a good behavior for those dogs who are a bit more rowdy.
Head on over and check out Chad’s piece. It’s a big part of installing an off-switch and is a great way to create Operant Drive.