Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The way classes balance

It's interesting how classes go. Usually there's a nice balance of skill level and need, both with owners and dogs. But right now it's not like that.

Everyone is at a completely different level. Dogs. And owners. And they all have very different needs. There are more than reasonable frenzied dogs.

One of the classes settles in and everyone works well, and it's really quite impressive the skill level of the very young dogs after such a short period of time. But on the other of the classes is just chaos. I'm definitely re-working the plan for what we're doing next week.

It's been another week of things not going quite as well as it seems everything should be. But then I hear stories about other training classes and I think, well, at least it's going better thant that. And then I hear about brilliant classes and brilliant trainers. And I think "we should be doing better. I should be more competent!" And then I hear not so great stories again.

Does anyone want to fund my fabulous studies on pet dog training? One thing I want to know now is what do the owners REALLY need. Five years from now, what cues will they be using? Everyone THINKS they want sit and stay and down and heel and come and leave it and and and and and. But really, do most average pet dog homes use all of these things? Would we be better with even fewer behaviors trained to a very high fluency? Or do some of these choices shape how people interact with their dogs forever? Will a dog that is trained to lie down, use the down cue more often throughout life? Or not?

I changed topic. Hmm.


Crystal said...

I don't use sit very often around the house, nor down. But I do tell my dog to leave it, get off, and wait ALL THE TIME. Oh, and come, too, but not as often.

I suspect that for most dogs, adding a "quiet" cue to that mix would be pretty important, too.

Kristen said...

Good feedback, thanks!

Quiet would be good for noisy dogs (and quiet dogs have owners who often want some barking...!).

Megan said...

Cues used?

1)Get over here
2)Kennel up
4)Leave your brother alone! (oh, wait... that's not a cue, or IS it?)

I rarely use "real cues" at home. Part of that is for fear of ruining cues, and part of it is that they're just not necessary.

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Hmm, things I can see most people needing, based on the more common complaints I hear:
- Loose leash walking! (stop pulling)
- Sit for greetings (stop jumping up)
- Drop it (stop stealing things)
- Quiet (stop barking)
- Kennel Up
- Come inside (stop play keep away)

But I don't think we should stop teaching them the other skills. The more they know the more they are spending time training and bonding with their dog. and just maybe they will use some of their skills outside of the class room to tell the dog what they want them to do instead of just yelling at their dog to stop.

Kristen said...

Thanks for the replies on this. I really really really want to do a 'real' study of sorts on this!

Crystal said...

I asked my husband which cues he uses most with our dog. He immediately said "give me five." It's true, too. He loves having her do that. He uses off and wait a lot as well.

Kristen said...

And that's another variation!

In a household with a trained dog.... what cues do the non-training-involved family members use?