Friday, August 27, 2010

Notes from the Julie Daniels Seminar

Julie Daniels Seminar – Aug 21 – 22, 2010

Your dog needs you to:

  1. Show up!
  2. Stay Connected
  3. Inspire your dog (criticism is not helpful)
  4. Keep your dog safe: being happy in the face of the unexpected is critical.  For example: if a dog comes into your space, don’t scream at the dog – start feeding your dog – Keep the other dog away if you have to.
Think about your personal energy: ie it does not create good energy to go thru a crowd telling everyone to move their dog because your dog is scared, aggressive etc.

For dogs that won’t eat:  continue to offer food for 2 seconds.  Then put back in bait bag/pocket.  The day will come that they will take food – so don’t stop offering.

When not working your dog – put them away.  If you can not stay connected …. Put them away.  DO NOT put them in a down stay or disengage and go move equipment etc.

First exercise – 1 dog 2 people.   Building drive to play or get reward.  So with Steeler – hand in collar – do you want this toy … do ya … really ….. GET IT.  2nd person plays with dog the same way.  You can use this game whenever you have a helper …. “oh my gosh she’s got your toy … wheres’ she going with that toy … then release dog to get toy.  You can also do things like put a jump in between you and helper.  Jump become incidental (and therefore the cost of doing the jump is low)

Cookie Jar
-          use glass jars for big dogs (except on concrete)  - kind of like a food tube.  Want something that will not allow dog to self reward.
-          You want the dog to decide to come to work.  Let the dog sniff, paw, etc – do not call dog away.
-          Work needs to be EASY when beginning.
-          Make dog part of process (Let dog think things thru???)
-          Cookie jar goes before the obstacle that you want to reward.
-          All cookies are unpredictable
-          Feed from the jar, This will make the cookies in your hand/bait bag unreliable!
-          ALWAYS HAVE LEFT OVERS!!!! 

Send exercises
Two jump exercise:
First time – stand in between 2 jumps  leg/hand closest to dog … send straight over jump

Second time – stand in between 2 jumps as before  this time you want to send dog to jump behind you.  You step sideways away from dog, picking up dog with furthest arm to turn and send dog behind you.  (get out of the dogs path)

Tunnel games -  can you send dog into tunnel with a handful of cookies in the sending hand.

Motivation:  motivation = Rewards – cost

-          most of us know how to increase rewards …. But how can we lower the cost.  Remember to work one issue at a time!  For example – do you need to work on your start line stay at the same time you are trying to work a new skill or set of obstacles.  Remember – it is the DOGS perception that counts. 
-          Julie like to work on “go” before working on “stay”
-          Watch out for unconscious patterns.
-          Remember to reward even if you are not happy with performance – do not deprive your dog of a reward because of lack of enthusiasm
-          Or another example – dog leaves to check things out – first reward when dog comes back no matter what! Work up to the dog coming back for a chance to earn a reward.  (ie dog comes back and you ask for known behavior and then reward)

Things that are part of cost – Difficulty, Duration, Joy or Pleasure (handler derived), Drive (or desire)

Cookies (or toys) should be delivered in the ring – not outside.  You want the GOOD STUFF to be inside the ring rather than outside.  Stuff happening inside the ring should be better than the stuff outside the ring. 

-          can be lots of things – food, toys, touch, play.  And don’t forget about the power of relief of pressure.
-          You should know your dogs reinforcement hierarchy.  What does he value most?  Least?
-          Reinforcement hierarchy is context specific
-          Remember ALL learning ins contextual.
-          For dogs that are really stressed in the ring, relief can be your best friend.  Start with entering ring – Oh my gosh you are brilliant!  What a good puppy you are – C/T and run out of ring.

Be creative about variables.
Somethings to think about
-          Orientation (of handler, dog, obstacle)
-          See saw example – change pivot point by duct taping paper weight underneath to change pivot point
o       Put cookie sheet under to change noise

Possibly one of my favorite quotes from JD (who heard it in a psych class)
“You can’t help anyone unless you accept their premise as valid”
-          you need to accept your dogs starting point and work from there.

Games to play ….
-          weave poles: showed us a method using ex-pens
-          2 rules Stay on your own side, and only click when dog is going away from you

Noise game – build a tower using dog bowls, soup cans – pay dog for knocking it down.

See Saw games –
-          wobble board and balance games
-          drag dog around on bed
-          see saw between 2 tables
-          see saw backwards so dog has to use paws to pull down to table
-          play push back game to increase desire to be on the board – when dog is pushing and fighting to stay on the board dog is ready to run down.  (train contact behavior separately)

As far as contacts go – JD first establishes the yellow zone as a place of many many cookies.  At first this is solely the responsibility of the handler

Raising Criteria
Remember the three D’s – Duration, Distance, Distraction
-          can raise criteria when at least 75% reps are correct
-          or another way to look at it … 75% are correct, 10% are excellent, no more than 25% are incorrect.

Example: Target Stick Training
-          at first only a direct touch to the hand would be incorrect (not reinforcable)
-          then the bottom 25% of the stick would not be reinforceable … etc

When shaping something and you have a GREAT step one and you take too big a step 2 – go back to step one!  You can shape failure just as easily as you can shape success.

Jackpots – Differential Reinforcement for Excellence (for the science geeks)
Rough rule of thumb – jackpots should happen about 1/10th the time for 10X as many treats. (not really a hard and fast rule)


  1. oh I wish I had known about this and gone. It sounds like you got a lot out of it.

  2. I think I did get a lot out of it .... I think that I could have gotten a bit more out of it if there had been a little more 1 on 1 time. But some of that is my fauld for not speaking up with more questions.

  3. Great info, Jenn! Thanks for sharing.