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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on Foundation Training?

I watched this video of Michael Ellis today.

Leerburg | Streaming Video

In the video, he talks about how you don't need to allow puppies to bite, jump up, or pull on the end of the leash because they understand the difference between everyday life and being on the field. Every since I started reading about working puppy training several years ago, this has been my instinct.

I am interested to hear what those who have raised a puppy for SchH think of Ellis' comments.

Amy
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 09:30 PM
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I think it's more about the methods of training and discipline than the exact behaviors. There are certain behaviors I simply do not allow from my dogs Schutzhund or not, but I can manage their environment and/or train them in such a way that it builds their confidence and motivation at the same time, rather than squashing them and being heavy-handed while the pup is young and impressionable. I do not think that raising a SchH dog to be confident and outgoing means you can't do any training and have to let the dog get away with everything. Obviously my training methods change over time depending on the drive and maturity of the dog but I guess for me it's more about building a bond and desire to work as a team, not as much about the contextual differences (I don't disagree, but to me even that doesn't really matter).
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 10:08 PM
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I think it's more about the methods of training and discipline than the exact behaviors. There are certain behaviors I simply do not allow from my dogs Schutzhund or not, but I can manage their environment and/or train them in such a way that it builds their confidence and motivation at the same time, rather than squashing them and being heavy-handed while the pup is young and impressionable. I do not think that raising a SchH dog to be confident and outgoing means you can't do any training and have to let the dog get away with everything. Obviously my training methods change over time depending on the drive and maturity of the dog but I guess for me it's more about building a bond and desire to work as a team, not as much about the contextual differences (I don't disagree, but to me even that doesn't really matter).
I would generally agree with this. Does your dog have to be a terror in the house to be successful? No. I don't think so. However, you cannot train it the same way you would train a pet which is general is geared towards calming the dog down and taking drive out of the dog. Commands need to be done in drive so the dog understands what is expected in terms of the type of response that is appropriate for the situation.

I think the reason first time handlers are cautioned against rules, manners, and too much obedience is that beginning trainers is SchH do not really understand what is expected of the dog until they've been training a little while. Allowing the dog to be a little crazy and a little pushy is less likely to give you trouble than overdoing the control piece on your puppy.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
I watched this video of Michael Ellis today.

Leerburg | Streaming Video

In the video, he talks about how you don't need to allow puppies to bite, jump up, or pull on the end of the leash because they understand the difference between everyday life and being on the field. Every since I started reading about working puppy training several years ago, this has been my instinct.

I am interested to hear what those who have raised a puppy for SchH think of Ellis' comments.
After re-reading this post, I realized it wasn't very clear what I was trying to say. My instincts are that teaching a puppy basic house manners like Ellis describes isn't going to have a great effect on how they perform on the field. I am saying that I agree with him, but I don't have any experience with this other than the fact that Bison was trained as a pet and still has the drive to work, he bites, he heels...

I will be getting another puppy in a few months and wonder, now that I am training for SchH, how much I should do differently. That is my motivation in asking what those who have raised puppies for SchH think of this concept.

Amy
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 10:46 PM
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Congrats on your new upcoming addition!! My personal opinion is the pups lines will be the key...though you already know this. They need manners for real life situations. Off topic, but
I wonder why he didn't address the prong so low on the neck in that video?

If the pup is over the top that it cannot live as a companion then it isn't what I would want regardless of the venue I train in.
I think M.E is awesome for foundation training, and wish I would have done more with Karlo when he was a wee pup using his techniques and ideas.
My regrets are that I didn't push focus on me/ flashy obedience/finishes, now I am trying to "fix" that.
The Malinios are making the GSD step up in this area and ME is all about the Mals... so we have to work harder to impress the judges during tests and trials.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 11:57 PM
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A couple of things I noticed from the video:

- dog was repeatedly getting up from his sit to jump on his person. Breaking the sit alone deserves a solid reprimand.
- Ellis does say not to get too heavy handed with the pup when it comes to house manner. Negative punishment (withholding reward) and positive reinforcement only ... as far as teaching house manner goes, that's pretty tame, soft stuff.

Another thing he does that's interesting (but not mentioned in the video) is - separate from house manner, he teaches the dogs to jump up and into his body on cue and then later he uses this command to get the dogs to come back and push the tug back to him when playing. So it's not like the handler's body is completely off-limit to the dog. It's just that the dog can't just jump up whenever he feels like it.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-28-2010, 10:02 AM
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It's not so much what you teach as how you teach it.

There are ways to deal with things like mouthing and chewing and jumping that isolate the behavior itself, and teach the pup when it is appropriate to engage in that behavior and when it is not, and institute certain rules for how and when the pup is allowed to express not just that behavior itself, but the underlying drives behind that behavior.

And then there are ways to deal with these things that will squelch those underlying drives. Rather than teach the dog when it is ok to express drive or exitement or enthusiasm or exploration or confidence they communicate to the dog that it's not the behavior that isn't ok, but the mental state behind it that isn't ok. You can also get into some nasty superstitious behavior (such as correcting a dog for jumping on visitors making the dog think visitors themselves are bad, because bad things happen when they are present). That way of dealing with behaviors can condition the dog to inhibit his impulses overall, not just in specific circumstances, and thus most certainly can cause lasting negative effects, particularly if the dog is intended to participate in any sort of training venue where later on those things will be desired.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-30-2010, 02:16 AM
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I agree with Michael. He lives with his Mals in the house and like the rest of us who do, needs the dogs to behave sanely in the house.

Like Chris said, it is not what you teach them but how you do it.

Channel the dogs drives properly, give them plenty of exercise and in addition, teach them the rules of the house from when they are very young. Do it as positively as possible using reinforcement and negative punishment.
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