Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Camp Doglando, Day 2

Day two, and we are beat! Forgot what it felt like, but are being reminded very quickly lol! We have a great bunch of kids this camp... enthusiastic, curious, willing, and fun! How much do you think you can accomplish in two days with a brand new dog? You may say not much! These kids are incredible. Yesterday they all successfuly comnpleted their goals of: 1. Having the dogs wait patiently in a crate as they opened the door and took one step back. They counted to three, and then released their pups, and every dog went straight to the arms of their campers.... its only day 2! 2. Walking on a loose lead, started off not so well... as you can imagine. Dogs in every direction, kids getting dragged all over the fields... lots of laughs. By the end of the day, the kids had them walking by their side, and even going into sits, every time they stopped. We need a lot more practice on this. 3. Sits and releases. Every camper successfuly taught their dogs to sit on a hand signal only, walk back one step, conunt to three and release. Some of the campers even got as far as adding steps (distance)... before releasing their dogs. Before breaking for our training sessions, we discussed various training tools and training practices. We played devils advocates to faciliate creative thinking on why certain methods and tools, under cirtain circumstances may be appropriate... and even if these are the best tools for that dog, are we as handlers equipped to use them? In one of our discussions we were talking about e-collars. There are many real life applications that are very practical for e-collar use. For example, hunting dog trainers, dont have any other options but to use e-collars to safely communicate to their dogs from over 1000 plus feet away. In the hands of an educated and experienced handler, the probability of such tools being used properly and favorably to the dog are high. However, what makes these tools less favoral for comapnion dog training? One of the kids said "using e-collars for companion dog training is an easy way to manipulate the dog, not giving the dog an option to work through it, but to make it." We discussed the use of positive punishment in training and the different forms of this. We compared punishment when its aversive to the dog, vs punishment when its respected by the dog... what are these differenences, or are there? One of the campers said "we fail the dogs because of our inconsistenties in positive punishment. We all have our own interpreations of what is acceptable, and what is not. Also, what we think may hurt the dog, might not really, some of us are afraid to say no and feel bad following through." Most our campers dont have their own dogs... so where are they getting this from. Parenting! They are drawing so much from their own experiences and relations with their parents, it is amazing! Another camper said "we are constantly changing how we ask of something and what we ask of..." Changing the criteria of the behavior without every making it known or givine it a fair chance to be understood. So how do consequences, positive or negative, punishment or rewards, impact these changes? How does this impact our relationship?

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