I have a 9 month old Hovawart female, spayed, we have been through basic puppy class. I want to know what class to pick for her. She is extremely smart, very food and toy oriented (tennis balls). I have just enrolled her in agility. I don't need the basic sit, wait, down course I would like something at the next level, I also want to do some tracking with her in the spring. Thanks for your advice.
Thank you for writing. I wish I knew more about your dog and your level and style of training.
For example, do you train with MARKERS. Here is an article I wrote on marker training.
I am 67 and have trained dogs seriously for over 50 years. I only got involved with marker training about 15 years ago. It opened a new world of communication with my dogs.
Just a note on food vs tug toy training. As a general rule I always recommend trainers start with food rewards before they try and use toy rewards. You can have so many more training reps with food than toys that it just makes sense to start with food.
Young dogs need to learn the RULES OF PLAY before training is started with tug toy rewards. Those rules are:
-Play tug with enthusiasm -Out the toy when asked -Bring the toy back when asked
Until the rules of play are established, tug toys should never be used as rewards in our training.
So, for that reason, I would recommend you to take our online course on THE RULES OF PLAY first.
In another vein, 100% of our training is based on our dogs being engaged with us. Engagement simply means our dogs WANT TO BE WITH USE, THEY ARE 110% FOCUSED ON US and THEY WANT WHAT WE HAVE. What we have is a high value food reward and a high value toy reward.
Engagement is our driving force for ever single behavior we ever attempt to train our dogs. Here is the link to our online course on engagement.
So get your rules of play established, get your engagement on cue and you will be ready to teach your dog anything.
If your goal is tracking, write me back when you get the above work finished. To accommodate my elderly short term memory, when you write me again, just reply to this email.
Best of luck to you and your puppy (a 9 month old dog is a baby).
Regards, Ed Frawley
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