Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Online Class Review

Back in the fall we signed up for the first online dog training class I've ever taken.  The class was taught by Fanny Gott and lasted about four months.

It was the best training class I've ever taken.

Advantages of online classes:  You are able to show the instructor your best work. If your dog is having a bad day? Wait another day before taking your video.   You have plenty of time to ask your questions and process your thoughts.

Things I loved about this class specifically:    The training is just great.  I know I've mentioned before that a lot of the clicker training in Europe is just more proficient than most of what's being done in the US.  And this class is a great example.   The training plans are brilliant. Allowing the dog to be as prepared as possible before doing the competition behaviors.   Less incorrect approximations are reinforced.  And it's all just beautiful.   Not to mention Fanny and Thomas are successful in competition in a way that most clickerly people here are not.  And that really stands out to me.

Things I learned in this class:  The most obvious and most distressing and most important was that Griffin is too aroused while working.  I have got to get him to settle. I don't need to keep building up his enthusiasm, though I should work to maintain what we have and I should expand his abilities to be working well as he will not work in some environments. Our playing has improved 10 times.  This is helping all of our training.  We've learned some new self control games that I'm sometimes teaching in classes too ("Reversed luring" and a send to bowl game that Griffin --loves--).  This class was very, very good for us. It was great to see all the other dogs in the class, giving me more ideas on how to progress or on how it all fits together.

Now what?:  The next group just opened for registration.  I am attempting to use my self control to not sign up this time around.   We're in an online running contact class, but it's just not as fun as obedience!   I'm going to be reviewing our notes from class and continue to perfect our training/obedience exercises.  And then, I'm not sure.  We benefit from the help. I love obedience.  I'd like to finally be ready to start trialing in obedience and agility.

In review.... an online class is different from a real class.  The feedback is not immediate.  But the feedback is great, you have time to think about it. you can watch yourself work while reading and re-reading the feedback.  A good online class can be a fabulous option.  I'm definitely going to be taking more classes!


Robin Sallie said...

Thank you for the review. I am signing up for it today!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Awesome! I find it really interesting that Griffin is too aroused in working. Perhaps because I just got done watching Silvia Trkman's "ready set go" dvd where she thinks most dogs need more practice with the ON switch than OFF. Of course agility is very different than obedience. But then I also think of all the training "in drive" proponents for obedience. Right now I am currently visualizing being in drive as a good thing for most behaviors in obedience except maybe the stand for exam, and scent work..?

Can you expand more on your observations with Griffin?

Kristen said...

Working with arousal definitely has been hard for me. Compared to Blaze, Griffin is incredibly laid back. And all I've done is compare them over time.... Megan pointed out Griffin's arousal -years- ago.. I didn't really believe her at the time!

Griffin definitely doesn't have a switch I can flip either...sometimes I need more than I'm getting, and even in agility I would like more "go" than he gives me (he's typically running but not as much as I know he can).

Too much arousal in obed has led to fronts where he's pressing against my legs (a year ago he would sometimes step on my toes), his finishes are crooked, and he's really wanting to forge. We need less arousal for the stays. Fanny and Thomas thought the jumping up during heeling (esp when taking off) was a sign of too much arousal (if I understood correctly) and we have been working to decrease that. It's not jumping biting, just bouncing and lauching in place as is popular with some obed people in the US.

When Griffin is in a less-aroused state (more tired, already had some work that day, less motivated), his heeling is more precise, his fronts and finishes better, he's less apt to run off or roll on things.

It's a balance and we're struggling. I don't have any way to get an off switch in training. And not enough control of the on.

And he's so different than he was a a year or two ago. Regardless, he's an ideal pet in my home and appropriately settled in that environment.

Definitely email or skype me... I could talk about this all day.

Kristen said...

Robin - Glad to hear it! Maybe I'm the only one that thinks so... but it's --the-- best class I've ever done and it was a really good experience for us. Keep me update on your thoughts!