Instructor: Amy Cook
Sport behaviors are too important for you to not have a precise plan for teaching them! While we can certainly "wing it" sometimes in life and with some behaviors, if you want precision and clear understanding in your dog, you have to get specific and... scientific! In this course, inspired by Amy's time at Bob Bailey's famous chicken camps, you'll learn how to tighten up your technique in shaping behaviors, to make plans that will work and not send you into the weeds, and to assess whether your plan was a good one as you review your training videos carefully! You'll learn to observe your dog more closely, to know exactly when you need to click to catch that exact behavior (and when not to!), and you'll consciously create CERs (Conditioned Emotional Responses) in your dog so that you get the emotion you want. In Bob's words, you will learn to "think, then you will plan, and then you will do!"
This class is not about teaching your dog any specific behaviors; it's about teaching you! You'll pick practice behaviors to train while you consider rate, timing, criteria raising, conditioned emotions, observation and reinforcement options. This class is for people who like to analyze what they're doing and think things through. You'll go back to the drawing board more than once!
This class is also supplemented with the lecture material from the now-retired "Learning Theory" class, which clarifies the basics (and then some!) of Operant Conditioning, Classical Conditioning (and that ever elusive Ratio!), and things beyond Skinner and Pavlov like memory and latent learning. There is a lot to read if you want to get your geek on, but it's all presented in an accessible way and you don't need a science degree to follow along. This class is definitely written for the dog trainer and dog hobbyist. The information focuses on the practical! If you struggle to keep quadrants straight or don't know when and how to flip between operant and classical in real life dog training when real things happen, this material will clear that all up for you.
This is a companion class to Denise Fenzi's "The Art of Training: Developing Confidence and Flow" that will run in next term, and they are designed to run sequentially. It is not required that you take them both, but in my class you'll learn to think carefully through what you're doing and behave precisely according to the best scientific principles, embracing all those little details that help us communicate exactly what we mean to, and in her class you'll learn how to expand past that, finding your flow and knowing what to leave behind as you engage in your partnership with your dog!