Cutting Out the Cookies (or Toys!) – Reducing Reinforcement for R+ Trainers

Date:Feb 1st, 2024
Registration Opens:Jan 22nd

Ever feel envy when you watch a obedience/rally/Schutzhund/etc… trial performance and the dog executes perfect skills for the WHOLE routine? No treats in the handler’s pocket, no toy in their hand, but the dog is certainly acting like there is!

Meanwhile you’ve got a bait bag on one hip, cookies in one hand, and a toy in the other, reinforcing for sits and focus around other dogs. The thought of sequencing a trial routine together without treats gives you butterflies in your stomach a hitch in your breathing and worse…

Trust me, I’ve been there. With my dog Ones, I felt panic overwhelming me at the thought of heeling onto a ring without MY pacifier, his puffy tug toy. And my sport of choice, Schutzhund, has an obedience phase that lasts for up to 10 minutes, and that’s not even counting the down stay at the end where the judge picks apart your routine in front of the whole audience!

How DO you ever get from here to there? Well, the key is to train some specific pieces and to start thinking of reinforcing in terms of dog’s effort, rather than specific skills. Join me in this class as I detail out some steps/concepts that are really going to help break it down and make it more achievable. We’ll be working through specific behaviors in class, ideally to get to a trial ready performance!

This is not an entry level class! Dog and Handler teams that would do best in this class are ones that have finished behaviors and behavior chains and are thinking of trialing in the future. I won’t be covering “how” to train skills, but I will be covering “what” to train, how often to reinforce and not reinforce already established behavior skills, etc… Knowledge of your specific sport rules is also a plus!

Teaching Approach

For this class, I’ll be releasing 3-5 lectures a week, one at a time. There will be written homework, video homework, discussions, etc… Lectures that require video homework consist of written bullet points and short video examples of those points. Explanations are in text, not on the videos.

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