Work Shops and Seminars

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It’s going to be a good one, I hope. I’m finally starting to see the end of the rest and rehab tunnel that both my dogs have been in for the past months. I really, really hope that they will be able to get started with some serious agility training when we spend February in Italy. I am also waiting for my new puppy to come into this world. If all goes as planned, puppies by Epic will be born in a month from now.

I also look forward to going abroad to teach this spring. First out is a seminar in Wrocław, Poland in January. It’s my first time in Poland, and I really look forward to it. When I get back from Poland, I will pack my dogs in the car and start the long drive to Italy. In Italy, I will teach at least two seminars (one in Onigo and one in Rome) and try to get a lot of training done with my own dogs in between.

Italy Seminars

When I get back from Italy in the beginning of March, I hope to have dogs that are ready to compete again. My eyes are set on agility try-outs for EO and World Championship in the beginning of May. Please keep your fingers crossed for my amazing dogs. All I want is for them to be healthy and strong this year. The rest is easy! In the beginning of April, I hope to welcome my new puppy to our home. After the try outs, I will go back to the U.S. and PosiDog in Ohio for another 10 days of seminars with some of my favorite people!

PosiDog Seminar

Thomas will also have a hectic spring, where he is training Paxa (german pointer) for mountain hunting trials in the beginning of spring, commuting to Norway to finish his masters degree in ethology, training border collies for herding trials and helping 40-50 lambs into this world.

On top of this, we always strive to bring our online students quick and helpful feedback. Every day. Next online class is our Foundation Class, starting on Wednesday January 8th. This class is good for anybody that wants to know more about our way of training. Here is a video made by one of our students from this fall – Lise Pavard with aussie Lulla:

We’re also at lesson 2 with our class “Obedience – Preparing for trials“. It’s so much fun! You can still join us if you want to give your dog a boost before the trial season begins.

Teaching in Ohio

I’m on my way back from almost two weeks in the U.S. The main purpose of my trip was to teach at PosiDog in Columbus, Ohio, but I also had time to see family in both Washington D.C and in North Carolina. I’ve also enjoyed the sun and mild weather, as Sweden in November is usually dark, cold and wet.

Teaching in Ohio was a lot of fun. We worked on obedience for five days and it was great to have so much time to make sure that everybody was making progress and had a plan of action before I left. Most of the teams that worked in the seminar have signed up for working spots in our new online Foundation Class starting later this week. I really look forward to that. Online teaching is really perfect for students living far away, especially when it can be combined with some real life coaching once in a while.

One subject that we talked about a lot was shaping. I love shaping and use it to teach the vast majority of behaviors that I use for obedience. If shaping feels like a bad idea, it’s usually only because I still haven’t found the right way to shape it yet. I know that many clicker trainers don’t shape a lot of behaviors and that it is sometimes frowned upon and considered too complicated or time consuming. I really don’t think it is and I have a lot of reasons why I like to use shaping. We’ve listed them all in our book “Shaping” that was published in August, but since the book only can be read in Swedish at the moment, I will list some of the reasons why I chose shaping in the blog, so keep your eyes open for that.

I really look forward to seeing my own dogs again. They’ve been in good hands while I’ve been gone, but I think they are a bit bored by now and very ready to work. I am too, even though I just missed a night of sleep going east over the Atlantic.

Online Obedience Class

This summer, we are presenting an online obedience class. The class is open for 10 working participants. You can also join as an observer. As a working participant, you will follow the class with your own dog (one dog per working spot) and post video for the entire class to see. Thomas and I will of course comment on your videos and help you through all the lessons. The observers get to read and watch all material from me, watch all the posted videos, ask questions and join in on the discussions.

This is a obedience class, much like the one we do IRL at home. The class will be based on the exercises from the FCI obedience trials, but the online class is also open for those who do obedience in other organizations. It will be great for anyone wanting to get the most out of their obedience dog using reward based methods, from the curious novice to the experienced competitor. It is a great advantage if you have done our online foundation class, or if you have the similar foundations in play, shaping and self control.

The class will run from July 9th. A new lesson with text, video and homework will be posted every other Monday, for a total of 8 lessons. Every lesson has a theme, go to the Obedience Class page to read more about the themes.

New Foundation Class

First Foundation Class is now finished and we’ve had such a great time looking at videos and discussing training with the participants. We’ve covered a lot of topics and given everybody feedback on their level of training. So it’s not just foundations, we’ve worked on recall with stand, distant control and many more advanced skills as well as great foundation skills. This is what one of our observers had to say after the course:

“I enjoyed all the lessons, the videos and the discussions and learned a lot. I feel so sorry that I did not go for ‘working participant’ as the course offered much more than ‘basics’ in my opinion and the working participants got so much personal feedback and guidance.”

Next foundation class starts on March 5th and you can sign up now! Thomas and I are really looking forward to working with a new group. Click here to read more and sign up.

Foundation Class 2011

This fall, I am presenting my first ever online class. The class is open for 6 working participants and 20 observers. As a working participant, you will follow the class with your own dog (one dog per working spot) and post video for the entire class to see. I will of course comment on your videos and help you through all the lessons. The observers get to read and watch all material from me, watch all the posted videos, ask questions and join in on the discussions. This is a foundation class, much like the one we do IRL at home. It will be great for anyone wanting to get the most out of reward based methods. There is also the option of buying access to just one of the lessons. With that option, you can read the text and watch all videos, but questions and discussion is restricted to the participants and observers that follow the whole course.

The class will run from October 3rd to January 9th. A new lesson with text, video and homework will be posted every other Monday, for a total of 7 lessons. Every lesson has a theme, these are the themes that we will cover in the 7 lessons:

  • Play! How to get your dog to tug with you and how to use playtime to teach your dog invaluable lessons for future training.
  • Self control. How to use rewards to increase control and gain clarity when working with the dog.
  • Shaping. Getting you and your dog started with shaping, or fine tuning your shaping skills. How to plan, execute and evaluate your sessions and bring fun into shaping.
  • Heelwork. How to get your dog to heel with focus, precision, attitude and duration. Great for any dog, even if you’re not planning on doing obedience trials, as it teaches the dog many valuable lessons.
  • Stand, sit and down. Learn how to teach the “jumping stand”, how to get fast and precise behavior, generalization and a dog that will keep the positions no matter what. Also great for any dog, not just obedience dogs.
  • Retrieve. Build from the play we worked on in lesson one and teach your dog a fast, precise retrieve where the dog never chews on the dumbbell. Our method of teaching the retrieve is different, fun and very effective.
  • Stimulus Control. Adding cues to behaviors, teaching the dog to wait for the cue and to discriminate between cues. Every clicker trainer needs this lesson!

What you need to sign up:

  • Computer with good internet connection
  • To read and write in English

If you want to work with your dog in the class, you’ll also need:

  • Video camera and a video editing program
  • YouTube-account where you upload your videos

Sign up now! There’s only 6 working spots and 20 observer spots in this class.
You will receive log in-information when you have payed via PayPal. If you already made an account here, let me know and I’ll give you access to the classroom.

No working spots left. Sign up as an observer.


Type of participation

Squid’s First Obedience Seminar

Saturday and Sunday was Squid’s turn to work with Maria Hagström. Squid did really well and I couldn’t be more pleased with her! She stays in her open crate while other dogs are working and I am engaged in other activities. People with dogs have been passing her crate and giving her cookies for staying calm. Not once did she show any of the resource guarding behavior that I have seen before. She was all happy and wagging her tail. We did a lot of proofing on focus and sit stays on Saturday. And worked on stimulus control.

On Sunday, Squid got to do her first sequence in a trial like setting and we worked on the first part of a trial – entering the ring and getting ready for the first exercise. In our last session, we worked on heeling. Here is a video of some of the training from yesterday. As a bonus, I included some of Shejpas dogwalks from lunch:

Greg Derrett seminar

We’re back from more than three days with Greg Derrett in Malmö, Sweden. It’s so much fun and the fact that I probably won’t be able to work with Greg until next December is pretty depressing. We’ll try to get some other intructors to come before that. Monday night was a lecture on the system. It’s always great to hear it again and to hear the new stuff that is going on in the system. And to be able to ask all the theoretical questions we’re always coming up with…

Tuesday started with some ground work. I ran Missy, to show that her circle work actually is pretty perfect even though it doesn’t always look like that on equipment… It was really good. We then did some two jump drills and my dogs were really showing off their worst sides. Missy was crazy and bar-dropping. Shejpa was sniffing and shutting down after a few runs. Some of it was probably my fault, it’s just like Shejpa’s first trial. I love running agility under pressure so much that I get too excited. I want to run fast, get to positional cue as fast as I can and I’m not patient enough on my rear crosses. I alternated wich dog I ran. On Wednesday, we did sequences with jumps and a tunnel. I ran Missy some in the beginning, and it was really better when I tried to think about being calm and just flowing instead of rushing. I have no problem getting where I need to be even if I’m not running away from my dogs. She was still dropping quite a lot of bars. Some of it is handler error, some of it is that Missy can’t handle my acceleration. Greg told me to do a lot of speed circles with 90 degree turns with her. Shejpa was a lot better and I ran her all afternoon. Greg concluded that: “She does have her moments of brilliance”.

We finished yesterday with a test on contacts and weaves. I was a bit nervous to try our running contacts on new equipment and under pressure, but Shejpa was just perfect. The proofing test we did on the dogwalk was stopping half way and she hit her contact below the last slat. A-frame is never a problem, so I didn’t worry about that. Seesaw is definatly a problem at times, but with just that one obstacle, she was alright and Greg was pleased. Weaves were good, Shejpa was the only dog that passed all the tests on weaves, and her time was much better than I thought it would be. We get a lot of nice comments on our weaves, but I’m not entirely pleased with them, so the plan is to retrain her with 2×2 (but I’ve said that for a long time…). 2×2 is a brilliant method and Thomas dog Pavlov has the best weaves with almost no training and he’s the only dog that has been taught with the 2x2s.

Today was about running courses, and I ran Shejpa all day (we only got through three courses). She was even better today and when she is focused and running, she really is brilliant. I think she could still get a lot more speed, but I do struggle to keep up with her sometimes, so I think she’s pretty ok. She had better turns than I thought she’d have and she is very responsive to my handling. First course was the individual small standard course from world cup (as it is on paper, not the actual course that you can watch on YouTube, they differ a lot). Shejpa was great and I manages to get us around the course fine (rewarding her seesaw). I got into position for front cross after the dogwalk and was even able to decel and be stationary and front cross as she met criteria. Contact was perfect. Next course was a pretty tricky jumpers course that was fine, apart from some footwork on my part. And the last course (wich, surprisingly enought also was a USDAA masters course!) was really easy and all about running.

Here’s a video with Shejpa running all three courses with Greg’s comments in the background.

About my handling then… I seem to have good footwork, good timing and I can run pretty fast. Most of my mistakes comes from not having enough patience. I need to work a lot more on handling with both dogs, really getting to the point of “meditation in motion” that Greg was talking about. Where you just flow around the course and also really know your dog. Missy needs a lot of work on speed circles and double box. Both dogs need to drive better to a jump before a rear cross. Shejpa needs more drive on lead out pivots, I feel that she is slowing down, especially on the harder ones.

It’s good to be home

I had a very good time teaching in Edmonton, but it sure is nice to be back home and able to train my own dogs. I have trained a lot with both Shejpa and Missy today. We went to a new club i the morning to try our running dogwalks on a new kind of equipment (aluminium frame with carpet). My dogs have only done their running dogwalks on our wooden dogwalk at home. I was surprised with how it didn’t really seem to matter. Even Missy, who usually isn’t very confident, ran it fast and consistent right from the second attempt. Shejpa was even better and showed great understanding even when she slowed down a little (she is always best when she is really fast). Shejpa also got to try a new seesaw. She isn’t doing the whole seesaw yet, but she is learning fast and we should be able to do the whole thing in a couple of days. She shows great speed, weigh shift and targeting.

We did some more training later in the afternoon. Both dogs got to do some jump grids. I introduced Shejpa to the long jump and put it into her distance grid later. She had no problems with it, so I will put it into sequencing pretty soon. I also introduced a pole in the ground to help her turn after her running contacts. It might clarify things for her, so I will give it a shot. Justine had tried it with Preston and it looked great. I might try it with Missy too, although she seems to have more understanding of the turns and will think more than Shejpa. I did some shaping with both dogs in the house as well. Missy now knows how to jump into my arms when I stand up (Thanks J!) and both dogs did shaping sessions on the theraball. They have amazing balance and strenght!

Thanks to Justine and all the nice people I met in Edmonton. I had a great time and it was really interesting to see dog training from new perspectives. It was fun teaching european style obedience to an enthusiastic crowd of dogs and owners. I hope that they will keep up with the tugging and high speed training that we did. It was also fun to do a puppy day and I am looking forward to getting my next puppy. Handling is always one of my favourite things to teach and I was happy to see so many that were dedicated to doing agility within Greg Derrett’s system of handling.

Handling with Laura Derrett

I really should write here more often, but we have loads to do all the time. We came home from our honeymoon a week ago (after 20 hours of waiting in the most awful airport ever). Then Laura Derrett came on Monday and we’ve had four days of handling with her. She left yesterday and I was once again just exhausted from running two dogs, taking care of people and staying up a bit too late drinking beer with Laura. Tomorrow is qualifications for Norwegian obedience nationals and I should be out training Missy (better late than never?) but when I do we just end up running agility instead. I don’t really feel motivated for obedience right now. If I’m lucky, we’ll qualify for the finals on Sunday, but I’m not counting on it. We should have trained more, but with the wedding and having both Justine and Laura here, obedience has not been a priority. I should also make some videos of obedience training because I leave for Canada on Monday and will teach obedience in Edmonton next week.

Having Laura here was great! Both my dogs surprised me in a very good way. I ran Missy the first two days (double box) and both dogs in the last seminar that was more advanced. Missy has made such an improvement since Justine was here. I havn’t done a lot with her, just her running contacts and some collecting and turning over one jump. But she was like a new dog and for the first time I really enjoyed running her! She didn’t knock any bars unless I did something stupid and she could even keep the bars up in serpentines. She could collect and dig in when I was stationary in a sequence, something she’s never done before. We still have a lot of work to do, but I finally feel like we’re getting somewhere.

Shejpa was suprisingly focused through both days. I always obsess over her speed and think that she’s slow, but videotaping and actually timing her made me think differently. She was acutually 0.5 seconds faster than Missy over a six jump sequence. That’s a lot! She was 0.3 seconds slower than Ted (genius border collie who is really powerful) in the sequence with two serps and I slowed her down on when I didn’t get out of serpentin position fast enough. I guess I should be happy with her speed, but there are still things that could be a lot better. She responds nicely to my handling, but she could be faster on arm changes. Maybe I don’t reward them enough (thinking about it, I very rarely reward front crosses) or maybe I’m sometimes early? I don’t know, but she blind crossed me and took white number 3 in this exercise when we ran black numbers and were told to just front cross and leave on commitment to 2:

She also blind crossed me in a front cross in the video, but I was babysitting the turn so that she was just turning wide. Anyway, it’s very good to know and will be the focus of my handling training this weekend. Her response to my decel is getting a lot better, but I will need to work on a verbal dig cue and also on her responding to my decel when I’m behind her. I also think that I need to work on decelerating in a rear cross to make them really tight, I’m not sure of how to do that.

I had to try some dogwalks now that I hadn’t been training at all in over a week. Missy was really good and consistent when I ran her straight. Laura timed her to 1.25 s. and I also had some really nice turns off the dogwalk where she really dug in on the yellow and had a nice, tight 180-turn off it. We’re unfortunatly not done with turning of the dogwalk, sometimes she’ll completly jump off to the side, but I had a nice session with her today where she turned nicely. Shejpa’s dogwalk was not as good as Missys on Tuesday when we started training it again, but she’s really come along nicely and I had a session today where we worked on turning and she was almost 100% when I sent her to a person with food that moved more and more to the side (almost to 90 degrees). I also started working on her seesaw again and it’s looking pretty good.

Here’s a video of mosty Shejpa from Wednesday and Thursday:

I’m really happy that we got both Justine and Laura to come here and teach for us. It has been so much fun and people seem really happy. I hope that they’ll come back next year. I’m seeing Greg in Malmö in Decmber. I look forward to that.

Missy is running her contacts as well!

Justine Davenport has been here for four days teaching and we’ve had a great time with lot’s of training for the dogs. Justine did four days of handling (one day flatwork, one day double box, one day rear crosses and one day of running courses). It was really good and I think everybody was extremly happy. I’m to tired to write a lot right now, I have to come back to some of the things that I learned and did. Shejpa has worked a lot on her running contacts in the evening. She’s good when she can run straight after the dogwalk, but we still have to work through different angles coming off the dogwalk. I guess it’s just something we have to work on, like how you gradually raise the plank and add handler motion. She is making progress.

Missy started her runnig contacts training on monday night. We started with a plank on the ground. Yesterday, we added height and raised the plank a bit. And tonight, Missy was running a full height dogwalk. Missy is easier to train than Shejpa in many ways, and I’ve learned a lot from teaching Shejpa. But I never thought we would come this far in two days! We obviously still have a lot of work to do, but I’m very pleased with us both so far 🙂 Here’s a video of our first session on a full dogwalk: