Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lisa Maze seminar - part 1

Training dogs in the South is such a rough life! :-)

Kane and I practicing attention.
Kane and I were fortunate enough to be able to participate in a Lisa Maze seminar a few weekends ago. Lisa is owner of Muttamorphosis Dog Training and she is a very accomplished dog trainer and breeder from California. She works closely with Michael Ellis of the Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers and the Loups de Soleil kennel for working Belgian Malinois. If you know a little about Schutzhund, then are probably familiar with Leerburg, both the kennels and the dvd/dog training gear company. Leerburg has produced several excellent videos with Michael on the topic of marker training. Here's a PDF on Leerburg's explanation of marker training.

Adding some movement into my food reward, after marking, makes Kane really excited and ups the engagement.
The wonderful Charleston Working Dog Club put on this event at the home of our wonderful hostess Jenny. We were able to train and stay at her beautiful plantation home located on 95 acres. It was such a wonderful weekend - we had fantastic weather, a lot of fun, great advice from Lisa on training, fantastic helpers for protection and great food as well.

Since Kane's "attackdog" incident, we have been working on attention and engagement. After talking with a few friends, and watching a video of us doing an obedience practice session, it became pretty apparent that Kane was not very attentive on the field, my rewards were not in the least bit engaging or fun and something needed to be drastically changed if we were going to break out of attackdog label and bring ourselves to the next level. I jokingly remarked that if I was being rewarded the way I rewarded Kane, I wouldn't sit either. So there! :-) My wonderful friend Julie brought up the concept of engagement training, Michael's videos and showed me how to get started. She even let me play with her malinois Brando so that I could feel the difference in handling a dog that has engagement. My feeling is that if Kane is more engaged with me, then his attention will be less likely to leave me to look for other "fun" things to do.

The first thing we worked with Lisa on was food rewards for attention, and how to be more fun. Here is an edited video showing how that was done with Kane:

I have three more posts to come on this seminar - so stay tuned! If you are interested in marker training, please watch some of the Michael Ellis videos or try attending a Lisa Maze seminar!
See - I had a GREAT time at this seminar!

Thank you Lisa! Thank you Charleston Working Dog Club! (and Thank you Thomas Lever for the fabulous photos of me and Kane!)