We are so fortunate to have Tami Shankle as our Community Field Rep!! We had an amazing meeting with her — packed with lots of information. Please know, if you ever have questions or need clarification on anything, check with your puppy buddy! Here’s a summary of topics and key points discussed:
Clarifying What R+ Means For Our Club
- With all the confusion that “R+” (positive reinforcement) refers to, we will now be considered a “Pilot Project Club”. While all clubs are introducing a few R+ strategies, each wave of new baby puppies in our club will be trying out new techniques to assist GDB in developing “best practices” that may eventually be taught to all raisers.
- Because we are learning new handling strategies, please do not share what we do with other raisers; we are being asked to not create any confusion within other clubs who may be piloting something else or continuing with what they know.
- R+ includes the use of praise and physical touch as well as food to reward puppies
- Corrections will still be needed on occasion considering the type of work our puppies will be doing — ask your puppy buddy for guidance.
- Corrections are never used when teaching a behavior — we are setting puppies up for succes!
- Corrections happen when the puppy know the behavior and is refusing to do it because the puppy would rather do something else (i.e. play) but not when a puppy is fearful!
- When correcting (i.e. repositioning) a puppy wearing a head collar, move the puppy in such a way as to avoid physically touching the puppy.
Tami showed us how the techniques are being used — if you missed this and would like to see this in action, please ask Mardie to attend a baby puppy meeting.
For All Puppies:
- Food is used to teach puppies loose leash walking, to avoid distractions, calm behavior, Food-Induced-Recall (FIR), and Go To Bed, and tethering (see below re collar pressure). Some new puppies are using food to learn positive crate behaviors.
- All puppies should understand what collar pressure means (refer to tethering game).
- All puppies should be on a drag line in the home; the drag line is a tool for managing house behaviors and prevent practicing inappropriate or rude behaviors. Again, check with your puppy buddy for specifics!
- On occasion, a puppy will be placed on a “food protocol” — this is different than food use for R+ and is approved by Tami. Very occasionally, an “adversive” is used to deter behavior as approved by Tami.
- Before addressing barking or whining, please contact your puppy buddy — it is important to understand why a puppy is barking before creating a plan to change the behavior.
- All puppies should know what is expected of them whether or not they are wearing their puppy jacket; not wearing a jacket is NOT and excuse for not doing a behavior.
- If your puppy does not do the verbal cue (i.e. “sit”)
- You can try and ask again — this should only be done occasionally
- Try the verbal and then the hand signal
- Start over (reset)
- Stop training and give a time out
- Keep the rate of food reward high and distractions low while a dog is learning something or is having trouble with a concept
- As distractions increase, increase the rate of food reward.
- All your puppy does is “behavior”! We are shaping and rewarding the behavior we want while ignoring undesirable behaviors (although they sometimes need a correction).
- “Rude” behavior, as Tami described it, is not acceptable and should be addressed.
- There were many concepts and demonstrations shared with us — if you have questions about ANYTHING, please let us know!!
Stay tuned for information about our next puppy meeting November 23rd.
Mardie, Robin, Warren, Lester and Linda