Can you draw blood from a whale without force? Yes, you can. What about put eye drops into a sea lion's eyes with no fuss? Again, yes you can. But you have to train for it. Captive animals need physical care and can be trained with positive and effective methods to accept all sorts of handling and procedures. At a week-long workshop with Ken Ramirez at Shedd Aquarium I observed calm and relaxed husbandry training and procedures with many species of animals. This experience inspired me to develop a similar program for dogs.
It seems that we often neglect husbandry work and focus on obedience behaviors and performance skills instead. But we need to rethink that approach. If we are lucky our dogs will be with us 15+ years, and they will need vet care and grooming on a regular basis. It is our responsibility to make these procedures as pleasant and stress free as possible. Our overriding goal is to do what is in the best interest of the dog for a happy and healthy life.
How does your dog react to nail trims? Does he let you brush his teeth without complaint? Can the groomer handle him with ease? Are vet visits enjoyable?
This course is intended to guide you through proactive husbandry training for your dog. Husbandry is a term that covers all types of necessary physical care. Grooming and veterinary procedures fall into this category. We often neglect husbandry behaviors and either ignore the possible future need or force the issue when necessary. Our goal in this class will be to teach our dogs to cooperate with us for a variety of required behaviors. We will do a quick review of operant and classical conditioning, and use both in our work.
Our ultimate goal is to have dogs who are relaxed and calm for procedures that will benefit their health and well-being. This class is appropriate for dogs of all ages (our main model is Helo who started this work at 8 weeks old) and at all levels of training. Sometimes very highly trained performance dogs have issues with being handled in certain ways.
Here's a trailer for the class!