Clean Training for High Drive Dogs with Sarah Owings

In this episode of K9 Conservationists, Kayla speaks with Sarah Owings from Cyber Dog Online Training about clean mechanics for training and working with high drive dogs.

Science Highlight: Detecting small and cryptic animals by combining thermography and a wildlife detection dog

Why do mechanics matter?

  • Clarity shapes all learning. The clearer you are with your dog, the more successful they will be.
  • Before you blame the dog, be sure your mechanics are clean and communication is consistent and clear.

What problems can poor mechanics cause?

  • Dogs may steal food or toys from you, bark, whine, zoomie, etc.
  • This is all from a lack of communication

What are some human-end behaviors that can cause miscommunication?

  • Lumping criteria (ie. jumping too many steps at once)
  • Having no criteria/winging it
  • Sessions that are too long
  • Lack of reinforcement strategies

What are some mechanics or exercises to improve handler to dog communication?

  • Make sure the criteria is doable and raise the criteria slowly over time
  • Reinforcement pattern games; can you give a dog a reward and they will know exactly where it’s going to be (in the mouth, tossed, on the ground, etc.)?
  • If your dog is sniffing around a lot for the rewards, treat in a dish on the ground to clean up the loop

Are there situations where switching up the type of food or toy is a good idea?

  • Switching to a lower value reward may just be a crutch. It is important to find what was causing the frustration, because chances are it wasn’t that the reward was too high value.
  • If you are having issues, you may be holding out longer than the dog can handle. The dog needs to know how to earn the reward, no matter what.
  • Choice of reinforcement can make your delivery mechanics better or worse.

Links Mentioned in the Episode:

Kayla showing off what poor mechanics can do… a bite to the face from a working dog.

Where to find Sarah Ownings:  Website | Tromplo | Facebook

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