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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2013, 10:53 AM
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Something that is very useful to understand why you may be confusing the hell out of your dog is to have yourself videotaped while working the dog. When you watch the playback, focus on what your body is doing as you give commands. Are you consistent or are you twitching all over the place, flopping your hands around etc. Dogs are very strongly attuned to visual cues, so if they are getting 4 cues at once from you because you cannot be still than how can we expect them to know what we are asking of them. Way back when I was doing obedience with my now nearly 11 yo, my instructor Marie Sawford actually made me velcro my wrists to my belt loops because my hands we just flopping all over the place and sending way too many signals to Juni. Since then I have been conscious to try to remain still and quiet in my body unless I want to deliberately use movement to cue. I see it in conformation when people are waggling a treat up and down in front of the dog and then wonder why they sit or walk out of their stack (well, because your hand told him to!), or in field when a dog seems to autocast the wrong way when the handler leaned out of the cast with the opposite shoulder before actually giveing the cast! They are powerfully attuned to our body language as it is a key part of their species communication system.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2013, 11:39 AM
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Thank you thank you Shelly. I will watch myself more from now on.
And you are correct, yesterday morning when she brought the bumper back I don't think I was even breathing let alone moving. I was so concentrated not to get frustrated because she really did not like that; she knew she was the cause of the frustration and she was so sensitive to that. I never thought that with all her stubbornness she would be so sensitive to my frustration. I am such a novice at this and really don't want to mess it up.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:01 PM
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Much ado has been made about reading your dog! Advice is often followed by the disclaimer, ďÖ but you have to read your dog.Ē Well, what does that mean in real life, in practical terms, in application. Why is it important? When is it important? What if I donít do it? How do I know if I am reading my dog properly? Whatís the downside if I donít read my dog properly? What's the upside if I do read my dog properly? If I'm not doing it (or not doing it right), how can I learn how to do it right?
Novels could be written on this subject. For many new or inexperienced handlers it is the leading cause of failing to make progress with their dogs.

What does Reading the dog mean?

Well each dog gives off a wide variety of physical signals. These include things like posture, facial expression, ear carriage, tail carriage, muscle tension, muscle relaxation, attitude, etc. and various combinations of each. The handlers job is to learn these signals and their multiple combinations and how various factors or stimulous affect them. What makes things more complicated is dogs are individuals and a lot of this is unique to each dog.

The value in reading your dog accurately is it allows you to make adjustments, at the correct time, to help the dog be successful, or to realize that you're dog isn't quite getting a concept and you need to back up and plug some holes in your training.

Where do you learn your dogs signals? Well most of us learn them performing various drills with the dog. Drills seem like drudgery, but performing those mundane tasks is where you learn the more subtle aspects of your dogs behavior and the dog learns yours. They help you to understand when your dog is uncertain about a concept, when it's kind of got a concept, or when it's highly confident that it will nail the concept perfectly. Posture, position, expression, attitude are all important signals your dog radiates.

If you don't read these signals, or mis-read them, you stand a good chance of causing confusion or trust issues with the dog. This can stall progress and create the appearance of inconsistency in the dogs eyes.

Being consistent is critical in dog training. The rules have to be the same all the time for the dog to learn and be successful. A handler that isn't consistent is being very unfair to the dog.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Swampcollie View Post
. . . Well each dog gives off a wide variety of physical signals. These include things like posture, facial expression, ear carriage, tail carriage, muscle tension, muscle relaxation, attitude, etc. and various combinations of each. The handlers job is to learn these signals and their multiple combinations and how various factors or stimulous affect them. What makes things more complicated is dogs are individuals and a lot of this is unique to each dog.

The value in reading your dog accurately is it allows you to make adjustments, at the correct time, to help the dog be successful, or to realize that you're dog isn't quite getting a concept and you need to back up and plug some holes in your training.
The idea of reading your dog carries over to every area where the dog and handler work as a team. When seeing the subject of this thread I thought of our therapy dog training where there was quite a bit of emphasis on reading all the things mentioned above to make sure that the dog isn't being unduly stressed etc. and to make sure that the handler makes whatever adjustments are necessary so that the therapy visit is successful.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swampcollie View Post
Novels could be written on this subject. For many new or inexperienced handlers it is the leading cause of failing to make progress with their dogs.

What does Reading the dog mean?

Well each dog gives off a wide variety of physical signals. These include things like posture, facial expression, ear carriage, tail carriage, muscle tension, muscle relaxation, attitude, etc. and various combinations of each. The handlers job is to learn these signals and their multiple combinations and how various factors or stimulous affect them. What makes things more complicated is dogs are individuals and a lot of this is unique to each dog.

The value in reading your dog accurately is it allows you to make adjustments, at the correct time, to help the dog be successful, or to realize that you're dog isn't quite getting a concept and you need to back up and plug some holes in your training.

Where do you learn your dogs signals? Well most of us learn them performing various drills with the dog. Drills seem like drudgery, but performing those mundane tasks is where you learn the more subtle aspects of your dogs behavior and the dog learns yours. They help you to understand when your dog is uncertain about a concept, when it's kind of got a concept, or when it's highly confident that it will nail the concept perfectly. Posture, position, expression, attitude are all important signals your dog radiates.

If you don't read these signals, or mis-read them, you stand a good chance of causing confusion or trust issues with the dog. This can stall progress and create the appearance of inconsistency in the dogs eyes.

Being consistent is critical in dog training. The rules have to be the same all the time for the dog to learn and be successful. A handler that isn't consistent is being very unfair to the dog.
A very good post. Thanks.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:51 PM
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"Reading the dog" has many meanings.
You need to "read the dog" on the fly, at the exact instant you are training. You have to have quick reflexes, be on your toes, think and react simultaneously. The gears are turning as you handle the dog on a blind, or line him up for that memory bird.

Another big part of "reading the dog" is assessing where he is mentally in the scheme of your training. Is his confidence high or low? Does he have a hangup somewhere that is affecting other aspects of training? Is he out of balance, doing too many blinds and not enough marks? Has it been a while since you did a certain concept? What we present him with and ask him to do needs to be tailored to his current mental state and level of experience, not to what our training group wants to do, what the book says or what you "feel like" doing that day.
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