Instructor: Sarah Stremming
This class is all about dogs that are over-stressed, over-aroused, over-adrenalized, and just plain over the top. Help your dog give his true performance in the ring by helping him be in a healthy state of arousal at trials. Learn how to ask your dog if he is ready to work, and how to respond when he says no, in order to help him be the best he can be. We will address everything that comes with problems of arousal: handler-biting, broken start lines and contacts, lack of focus, knocked bars, barking, and more.
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 9:00 AM Pacific Time.
For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Enrollment limits: Gold spots available by lottery, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited. If you are interested in a bronze level subscription, you can sign up at any time during the registration period.
Registration Lottery ends 5pm November 18th. Click here for details and entry link.
Worked Up! Curriculum
optimal arousal states for work
examining your training
Concept: information gathering
Assignment: Arousal Testing
Concept: the SEEKING system
Assignment: Arousal Soothing
Backing up the chain, utilizing the SEEKING system
Assignment: training start button behaviors
Concept: recognizing what work creates what emotional state
Assignment: inserting the start button, adding work
Concept: dialing it back down; what happens when you overdo it
Assignment: increasing the arousal of the work
Concept: Deciding to be the handler your dog needs
Assignment: bringing it all together and long-term planning
There are no hard prerequisites but a good understanding of dog training basics and marker signals is recommended. This is an advanced class simply because it is very conceptual and requires good observation skills as well as the ability to respond to your dog depending on the information he gives you, i.e. if the dog does A you can do C, but if he fails C you might need to try B, and if neither C nor B are working, you may need to back all the way to Z. This class primarily utilizes food, so if your dog is not what you would consider food motivated, it may not be appropriate.
A suggested prerequisite is BH305 - The Whole Picture: Behavioral Wellness for Performance Dogs
Some equipment pertaining to the sport your dog exhibits his “worked up” behaviors in will be helpful. Other than that, just a leash, treats, and a clicker if you use one.
My dogs have a full repertoire of start button behaviors; you will start by training one. Pick either eye contact or line up at your side as your start button, I have videos and instruction to help with both. The general process is to train a behavior, get it on a physical prompt (rather than a verbal cue, your body posture will suggest to the dog that you’d like to start training, that the start button is “live”), and then once it is consistent begin to deliver work as opposed to reinforcement to the dog. Once again, here is the process:
1-acquire the behavior
2-establish a body prompt cue for the behavior
3-reinforce several repetitions with classic reinforcers (food, toys) until it is consistent
4-replace classic reinforcers with work
What happens is the dog recognizes over time that her response to the start button prompt starts the work. Consequences drive behavior so once the dog realizes this, she will either readily push the start button, or not. Any absence of “yes!” is no, so when that happens in work, you’ll soothe, but more on that coming up! For now, just establish a start button behavior for us to use.
Line Up Start Button:
The most important thing here is that you get this behavior occurring on ONE body prompt, not a motion. I explain that in more detail in the video, and you see the final product in the video above.
Eye Contact Start Button:
This will be an easy start button for dogs that already offer eye contact but a tough one for dogs that don’t. It also does not allow you to position your dog as easily as the line up start button does, so choose wisely. I use both; the eye contact start button is prompted when I do not intend to lead out, and the line up is prompted when I do. Simply capture eye contact and add the prompt (I put my hands behind my back).
A sampling of what prior students have said about this course ....
I participated in Sarah's "Worked Up!" class at the bronze level. Lectures, videos, and forums were extremely helpful, providing a lot of help for working with my over exuberant dog. We're seeing great improvement during class, and hoping to put it all together and be able to trial again soon. Highly recommended! Cathy A.
I've never been exposed to this info before, it's already made a major impact on my dogs behavior, my understanding of his behavior and helped me start thinking of ways to help him and I become more of a team, at home as well as in trials.
Sarah has amazing insight into reading what dogs may be feeling and she gets tremendous results from that. She has the approach I have been searching for and I hope I get to work with her directly soon in a Gold capacity. Stacey M.
For those of us with dogs that can't think when they get aroused, this class is a great place to start getting some tools to help your dog work through (or avoiding all together) their frustration.
Sarah addresses arousal issues with wisdom and compassion for both dog and handler. Her protocols help me evaluate my dog's readiness to train and trial and to intervene with arousal soothing. She has given me the confidence to choose what is healthy and appropriate for my dog. Nancy H
Sarah...just wow! I am truly impressed in the quality of the lecture materials and the usefulness of the videos. Your responses to your students as well as the encouragement you gave them were also stellar. I only participated at the bronze level ( saved my money to do a real, live seminar with you :-) ) and never expected to get as much out of this class as I did. Kudos to you!
Thank you so much for offering a class like this. Learning to see when our dogs aren't able to perform and what to do about it will be a lifesaver for us and will actually allow us to train in a happier more relaxed way. My dog thanks you too!