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Discussion Starter #1
I hope it is okay to do this. Trying to appropriately attribute this. I thought this was interesting coming from this level of dog trainer/competitor. Just wanted to share Ivan's perspective:

"I often get asked about how my dogs are in everyday life, etc. So finally I have some time to write on this. All of my competition dogs past and present are allowed and encouraged to play with other dogs, play with other people, live in the house, lay on sofas etc, get food from other people , go to dog beach, and basically live all around a VERY social live. Training ( and the people that know me can testify on this) is not on a daily basis, sometimes weeks can go by without "training". In fact actual training happens whenever I feel like it, and most importantly whenever I have time. I don't necessarily recommend this, but I have found that it works just fine for me. I can train a full hour ( and sometimes more) of obedience assuming weather conditions are good and the dog ENJOYS it and wants to keep going. Sometime I think I should make a video of it ... But then who would want to watch an hour of it. Sometimes ( or most of the time) it is very repetitive and silly. For obedience I pretty much never use food/treats even with the puppies. They always get their full meal in their dish. Including the night before tracking lesson. There is zero food deprivation, my dogs don't "work" for food. They like to play with me and I like playing them. I hope I covered most of the questions I get asked in private messages about this
In the book I am working on all this will be included. For those of you that will ask - the Heeling video is done. I just need to wait a bit more before releasing it. I don't like it when others make videos or seminars using my stuff as it is their own. Especially before it is released . Be a bit more patient , everyone that has had opportunity to see it at my house says that the video is excellent and most importantly my approach is very different!"

Again, fully attributing this to Ivan Balabanov.
 

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Yup. When you are clear in your training and raise a dog keeping in mind you need to control behavior as well as emotional states you can take spun up high level competition dogs and get them to chill out with you when not in the sport context. You can also let them play around other dogs and not worry about a dog becoming "doggy" or ignoring you for distractions like wanting to play with other dogs.





 

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Awwwww....love the pics!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow Bailif, Crank is big and adult like!

I just liked Ivan's ease about these things. I'm training my dutchy in SAR and I wish I had the experience and knowledge base that I could let it go sometimes. I think we can do more damage hammering away at training. I would love to have the basis to say, ya know... I think he needs a break.

I remember when I did agility with my last aussie. Sometimes, due to circumstances, we took 2-3 weeks off, and he would come raring back in a way that I know it was good to have that break.

After reading Ivan's stuff I feel less guilty about the couch too. ;-)

With my pup, I had inadvertently created a problematic relationship with him early on. The trainer I use was trained by Ivan and thank god I found him when Tygo was 8 months old. We did most of our work to restructure the play relationship. It is not perfect but it is so much better to be playing with my dog now.

Anyway, this quote was actually accompanied by a photo of Samual Jackson in his Matrix get up saying, "What if I told you the problem is not the dog?" So true in my case.
 

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Yeah people create distrust going for the toy at bad times and taking the toy away or making play about the toy and it makes things unnecessarily adversarial and they either play keep away or get possessive aggression or whatever.

Ivan's really good about getting possessive dogs to cooperate with a game without necessarily having to make returning the toy a compulsion based thing.
 

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I think many handlers try to be over managing and don't let their dogs be a dog! It can cause the dog to have some anxious tendencies or act defensively out of fear of their partner....I agree with Ivan's protocol, I do the same(though I don't have goals of Nationals or podium)
Sport training/trialing is supposed to be somewhat enjoyable. If I have to kennel my partner away from me to get a better attitude while training, then I don't think my perspective is focused correctly. I don't deprive food either, though raw feeding for training is a challenge. I would much rather use a toy if possible!
I enjoy being around my dog, love those moments when he pushes a toy into me to train. He couldn't do that if he was out in a kennel and I was inside.
 

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I haven't seen much of Ivan's stuff. How does he differ from Michael Ellis? I'll have to check out his info on playing with possessive dogs... I got one of those.
They differ in that Ivan understands aversives to a much higher level than Michael. Because of this he's able to train dogs a heck of a lot faster. He also understands gameness and how to incorporate that into tug or training or any kind of reward system as well as in decoy work.

Michael has good stuff for beginners. Ivan is where you go when you're ready to get serious.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Baillif,

Wondering what you mean by gameness? Is it what is often called engagement in play?
 

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I haven't seen much of Ivan's stuff. How does he differ from Michael Ellis? I'll have to check out his info on playing with possessive dogs... I got one of those.
I find Ivan's stuff clear, simple, right to the point and easy to apply, from beginning right through to advanced. Clear Communication is the perfect description.
 

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Thanks Bailiff, I'm surprised I haven't seen more of Ivan B's stuff out there. I'm all about faster and more efficient training. By "get real" do you mean get to higher levels of competition, or "real world" protection, or simply to achieve a higher level of training/communication with the dog no matter what venue?

The more I think I know about these complicated dogs, the less I find I actually do know- always learning!

Karin- can you describe how your play with your dutchie changed based on your trainer's input? I wish I had someone experienced close by, but right now am relegated to reading/watching and trying it out with my dogs (malinois) myself. I'm always open to trying new things to get better communication and results.
 

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I haven't seen much of Ivan's stuff. How does he differ from Michael Ellis? I'll have to check out his info on playing with possessive dogs... I got one of those.
For those interested:

According to Ivan him and Michael Ellis are in the most agreement in training dogs.
According to Ellis, he has has learned more from Ivan than any other single dog trainer.

Ivan wrote this testimonial about Michael Ellis:

If you are reading the testimonials you must be still in doubt which School for Dog Trainers to attend? And if you are reading this one, you must value my opinion so here it is:

I don’t know of “any” other school instructor(s) that has the gift and passion for teaching, combined with years of collected experience and knowledge that Michael Ellis have! Sure we may have some differences in training, but overall there is no other trainer I could agree more with. This is the school.

Ivan Balabanov
Multiple IPO World Champion

Ellis gave this testimonial for Ivan:

Ivan Balabanov is, in my opinion, the most gifted competitive sport trainer in this country. I have learned more from my time training with, and from watching Ivan, than from any other single trainer in my career. He is thoughtful, innovative, and insightful. Ivan and I may have our training differences, but I cannot recommend anyone more completely. If you are interested in dog training, you should expose yourself to Ivan Balabanov. Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers
 
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