Tampa Dog Training Client: Barbara Horwood Agility Trial Brag!

Barbara and CocoaTampa Dog Training Client: Barbara Horwood Agility Trial Brag!

by Jan Casey, Senior Dog Behavior Consultant

Congratulations to Barbara Horwood and Cocoa on their wins at a NADAC agility trial in April.  Barbara and Cocoa are brand new to the sport of agility and both have worked very hard over the past year and a half to get ready to compete.  This was their second trial and Cocoa and Barbara managed to bring home two second place ribbons and two four place ribbons.  The love Barbara and Cocoa have for each other is evident!   Looking forward to seeing these two in more competitions.

Jan Casey is a dog behavior consultant at Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa who specializes rehabilitating fearful and shy dogs.  Jan also teaches agility, pushball and dock jumping. Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa is a full service dog school that offers doggie day care, pet sitting, group classes and boarding!

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Tampa Dog Training: Courteous Canine Super Splash Dog Competition

Gayle and Sienna won with a jump of 22.1 feet.

Gayle and Sienna won with a jump of 22.1 feet.

Tampa Dog Training: Courteous Canine Super Splash Dog Competition

The results are in.  Thank you again to Judge Michael Pastrana. Much fun was had and much splashing later here are the final standings:

Splash Division for dogs jumping 0′ to 9’11″ 

Frank and Shadow with a jump of 10.04 first place

Rebekah and Zoli with a jump of 9.03 second place

Joel Emma with a jump of 7 feet third place

Junior Division for dogs jumping 10′ to 14’11″

Susan and Buster with a jump of 14.07 and first place

Tom and Player with a jump of 13.02 and second place

Adam and Bentley with a jump of 13.01 third place

Frank DeShong and Ressie with a jump of 12.08 fourth place

Jan Casey and Buzz with a jump of 12.02 fifth place

Penny and Ice with a jump of 11.02 sixth place

Susan and Zac with a jump of 10.10 and a seventh place

Ronnie and Zip with a jump of 10.02 an eight place

Semi-Pro Division dogs jumping 18′ to 20’11″

Gianna and Dali with a jump of 17.1 first place

Travis and Kali with a jump of 17.06 second place

Pro Division with dogs jumping 21′ to 23’11″

Gayle Sienna with a jump of 22.1 first place 

Frank and Zeus with a jump of 19 a second place

Shannon and Prospect with a jump of 17.06 third place

We look forward to having you again next year!!! 

Happy dock jumping to all! 

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Tampa Dog Trainer Jan Casey: Labels – Useful Construct or Jack Hammer?

Private Dog Training

Unlabel me!

by Jan Casey Senior Dog Behavior Consultant

There is no doubt that we are different – dogs walk on four legs, drink from toilets, and love to roll in things on the ground that repulse us. That handmade quilt passed down from generation to generation is not a priceless family heirloom to the dog, it’s a nice, comfy place to settle after a good romp in the mud.  Many dogs will happily wolf down the same old kibble while we sneer at leftovers. Dogs communicate mostly with body language while the owners can yak on for hours. Different?  You bet we are!

 But we are also very alike. We suffer from many of the same diseases – diabetes, pancreatitis, cancer and anxiety disorders.  We both learn using the same principles of reward and punishment. Looking at new work by scientists such as Gregory Berns, similarities are found in the brains of both dogs and humans, showing the same regions light up when we think there is something good coming our way. Identifying with our dogs is a good thing – most of the time. Mislabeling our differences can cause huge problems.

Labels make it easier for us to try to explain behaviors. Unfortunately, we often extend this to our dogs and mislabel them with motives that are incorrect. This can affect the success we have in resolving any problems. “He won’t walk with me because he’s being stubborn.”  “He gets on my lap when a man comes near because he wants to dominate me.” “He won’t come when called because he doesn’t respect me.”  My job as a canine behavior consultant is to help change the dog’s behavior, and many times that means I also ask owners to reframe their thoughts on why the dog acts as he does. Labeling can accidentally cause a person to bark up the wrong tree and misunderstand what is actually happening. In the examples above many times dogs won’t walk on leash because they have a physical problem, labeling this dog stubborn is counter productive since it is not addressing the real issue..  A dog seeking comfort when he is afraid by jumping in the owner’s lap is not dominating but asking for help, this misunderstanding has a lot of potential for harm since if a scared dog is not kept safe, he very well may bite. Finally labeling an untrained dog disrespectful, also distracts from the true issue: training is needed.  So instead, try to think like a dog! If you understand that dogs are about two things – survival and making good things happen – it will make a dog’s behavior much easier to understand which will lead to successful training.

The real issue in all dog training scenarios is why?  Rather than labeling, investigate! What exactly is the problem? Then take a shot gun approach to what could be causing it. Be  a truth detective.  Is the weather uncomfortable, too hot or too cold, causing his feet to be in pain from scorching sidewalks or frozen puddles?  Could he have an injury that makes walking painful?  Perhaps the last time you went for a walk, the dog down the street rushed him and scared him badly, making him frightened to go out again. Are using equipment that makes walking fun? Perhaps it’s just that when he smells a really good smell and decides to investigate, he gets yelled at followed by a sharp snap on his neck.  

Applying the same process with the dog that was comfort seeking when a man approached, instead of labeling the dog dominant, ask why? Look for an event or a pattern of experiences this dog has had with men.  Is the dog socialized with men?  Has a man hurt him?  We know know that dogs, like humans can suffer from Post Traumatic Stress. this does not make a dog dominant this means a dog needs some excellent fun based behavior modification.  

Finally, coming when called is a training issue, assigning a label to the dog does not change the fact that the dog needs training.  Avoiding any labels look for patterns and for the history of the coming when called behavior.  Has this dog ever had a good response to being called?   Or maybe you can remember that the last time you called your dog to you gave him a bath? Even one repetition of calling your dog to you and doing something punishing can undo a successful history of coming when called.  It’t not about disrespect but rather a simple issue of being aware of accidental training.  

Being a truth detective rather than a label generator helps you look for solutions to the problem. It allows dog owners to address the actual problem rather than bark up the wrong tree! As Dr. Susan Friedman states in her articleTrainers With Jackhammers Need Not Apply (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/behavior-works/201002/trainers-jackhammers-need-not-apply): ”No animal keeps behaving for bad outcomes. When a behavior is ineffective (from the behaving individual’s point of view), animals behave differently next time. But, to know what to do instead, animals need good outcomes, which serve as positive feedback about the adequacy of the behavior.”

Happy Training to dogs and HUMANS!

Jan Casey is a dog behavior consultant at Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa who specializes rehabilitating fearful and shy dogs.  Jan also teaches agility, pushball and dock jumping. Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa is a full service dog school that offers doggie day care, pet sitting, group classes and boarding!

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Tampa Dog Training: 9 Fun Facts about Dog Dock Jumping

Ultimate Pool Shot9 Fun Facts about Dock Jumping for Dogs

By Brenna Fender and Angelica Steinker

Does your dog enjoy jumping into your pool or launching off your dock into a lake? Does he just love to swim every chance he gets? If so, you and your dog might like the sport of dock jumping.

Here are 9 fun facts you might not know about this sport:

1. Splash Dogs is organization that sanctions, and promotes dock jumping events. Splash Dogs tracks rankings and offers titles. Splash Dogs is affiliated with the United Kennel Club, and handlers may register to earn UKC dock jumping titles at Splash Dogs events. (The UKC’s website is ukcdogs.com). Courteous Canine holds dock jumping events sanctioned by DockDogs. For more information on Splash Dogs, visit www.splashdogs.com.

2. Ultimate Air Dogs (UAD) is yet another organization that sanctions dock jumping events. They host Ultimate Air (distance jumping) and Ultimate Vertical (high jumping) events. They also offer new game called “Catch It” in which jump distances are only logged when the thrown bumper (used to encourage the dog to jump) is caught. Like Splash Dogs, Ultimate Air Dogs is affiliated with the United Kennel Club, and handlers may register to earn UKC dock jumping titles at UAD events. For more information on UAD visit www.ultimateairdogs.net.

3. Dock jumping is open to any dog that enjoys the sport. All breeds and all sizes can play! While many competitions favor the larger dog that, by grace of having a longer stride, may be more likely to jump farther, some organizations have classes specifically for small dogs as well. Some events offer Veterans classes for older dogs and junior handler classes for kids ages 16 and under. It’s a very “inclusive” sport!

4. You might think that dock jumping is all about jumping far, but that isn’t always the case. As the sport is growing so are the games that are being played. Some events involve jumping high, swimming fast, or catching a thrown bumper.

5. There’s more training involved than you might think! If you just want your dog to have fun jumping in the water, then you might not need to train much, but if you want to win big competitions, there is more to be done. You will need to teach your dog to stay at the end of the ramp, run at top speed down the ramp and to take off as close to the end as possible. You will need to determine how high your dog needs to jump in order to have the proper trajectory for the longest possible jump, and then teach your dog to jump that high. You will need to develop drive and motivation for the bumper, and speedy, strong swimming skills. Dogs structure impacts how high they can push off the end of the dock.  Dogs with shoulder lay back will not be able to reach the same heights as dogs who have straight shoulder angulation. No matter what your dog’s structure, the good thing about dock jumping training is it’s all fun!

6. Conditioning is important for any canine athlete. Build strength and endurance on both land and water for maximum results. Using balance balls such as recommended by Debbie Gross Saunders, Ph.D. www.WizardofPaws.com are ideal.  Just like people dog’s do best when their core is strong. 

7. To maximize your success, your dog will need to be really excited about getting to the bumper or toy that you are throwing. Play with it on land to build a lot of motivation. Make it the coolest thing ever! Hold the bumper up so your dog grabs it while jumping for it to simulate the ideal scenario. The goal is for your dog to track and grab the bumper while he is in the air and before he hits the water. 

8. Know the body of water you are using for training or competing. This is particularly important when you are using lakes, ponds, and other natural bodies of water. Items under the surface of the water, like rocks or a shallow bottom, can injure your dog. In some places, wildlife (like alligators) can pose a danger to your dog. Be careful! We recommend using pools on grass surfaces for optimum safety! Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa’s pool is optimally safe by being outdoors on grass and crystal clear! 

9. Your dog may get very tired while dock jumping, just like with any other activity. Watch for signs of over exertion and give him a rest when needed. Also, if your dog seems to bite the water or otherwise consume excessive amounts of water while jumping, make sure to take your dog out of the pool often and supervise that he urinates.  If your dog tends to obsessively drink water, discuss how to prevent water intoxication with your veterinarian. This is a serious (but rare) condition that can lead to death.  Fortunately, properly monitored dock jumping is a safe and fun activity that many dogs enjoy. If your dog loves water, give it a try!

Happy Dog Dock Jumping, sign up for a class today! www.CourteousCanine.com

Brenna Fender is a dog sport journalist who writes for Clean Run Dog Agility Magazine, USDAA’s website and many other high profile dog publications.  Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa offers agility, pushball and dock jumping instruction. Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa is a full service dog school that offers doggie day care, pet sitting, group classes and boutique boarding! Angelica Steinker the owner of Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa is the author of Agility Success a book addressing the mental training aspects of agility training grab your copy at www.CleanRun.com.  

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Tampa Dog Trainer: Brenna Fender – Is Humility at Odds with Success?

clickerclassIs Humility at Odds with Success?

By Brenna Fender, Tampa Dog Trainer

When you walk off an agility course, out of an obedience or rally ring, or away from your dog training class, do you dwell on your shortcomings? Do you gloss over your successes and focus on your failures?

Do you think only about what went wrong and rarely about what went right?

I am guilty of behaving this way and, thanks to my interest in sports psychology, I’m wondering why. The bottom line is this: I was raised to believe that humility is proper, and that bragging should generally be avoided.

As children, we take pride in our accomplishments and believe we have enough skill and talent to take on any task. And that’s a good thing, because children learn and grow by trying out a wide variety of experiences.

But life takes its toll on us and we learn that we can’t do everything we think we can. Self-doubt depletes our confidence. As we continue to grow, our social skills develop. We learn that it’s best to be humble, to understate our skills, to avoid making others feel “less” because we, in some areas, are “more.” It’s polite, right?

Sport psychology gurus offer a different take. This don’t-brag-about-yourself, don’t-think-too-much-of-yourself, really-you’re-no-better-than-anyone-else behavior that many of us have grown into appears to be in direct conflict with having a winning mindset.

This is a problem.

Many successful athletes, actors, and others don’t worry about always sounding humble. They speak openly about their successes, talents, and skills. They do not often point out their shortcomings, and if they do, they don’t apologize for them. Does that kind of talk make you uncomfortable? Does it feel too much like bragging?

It may seem that these people have let success go to their heads, thinking they are better than others because of what they have achieved. But perhaps they have always believed in themselves. Maybe they have always felt that they could achieve what they set out to do. Perhaps that’s part of what has led to their success. What if they are good at certain things because they believe they will succeed, rather than being successful because they are good?

I believe that I have certain skills and talents. Could I be good at those things because I believe I am, rather than the other way around? It’s mind boggling to think about!

The dilemma is, can I allow myself to think I’m good at new things, like the sports I do with my dog? Can I speak highly of my own performance rather than be self-deprecating under the guise of modesty and humility?

Maybe I need to spend some time changing my own thoughts when I hear people make successful statements about themselves. Perhaps I need to brand it as confidence that leads to success rather than boasting that comes from it.

 

Brenna Fender is a dog sport journalist who writes for Clean Run Dog Agility Magazine, USDAA’s website and many other high profile dog publications.  Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa offers agility, pushball and dock jumping instruction. Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa is a full service dog school that offers doggie day care, pet sitting, group classes and boutique boarding! Angelica Steinker the owner of Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa is the author of Agility Success a book addressing the mental training aspects of agility training grab your copy at www.CleanRun.com.  

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