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  • Chris Herman
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    I watched YouTube videos on dog handling, leash training, and agility training. Most of the handlers displayed proper leash techniques. I observed one handler slowing down while walking the dog which seemed to confuse the dog. That same handler allowed the dog to pull on the leash and provided treats to the dog while tension was on the leash. The dog may not have lost focus if the handler had remained consistent with his pace and not slowed down. The handler should also not provide treats to the dog while tension in the leash is present. The handler should only provide treats when the dog when the dog is displaying the correct behavior and not pulling on the leash. The handler had difficulty with the dog not pulling on the leash and staying by his side.
    During another YouTube video I observed a handler’s first agility training lesson with their dog. The handler introduced their dog to weave poles and jumps. The dog was interested in the weave poles. The handler was aware that the weave poles were foreign to the dog and let the dog have ample time getting used to the poles before having the dog engage with the poles. The handler gave the dogs treats as the dog progressed through the weave poles for a positive reward. The handler positioned the dog at the start of the of the weave poles and conditioned dog to understand the starting point by using positive reinforcement and treats. I thought the dog did really well the first-time using weave poles. The handler let the dog make mistakes and corrected those mistakes with the dog redoing the weave poles and being given treats when the dog was able to get through the weave poles correctly.

    Chris Herman
    Participant

    I contacted my neighbor and asked if I could meet up with her two-year-old Poodle named Maggie. Maggie is a happy and excited dog. We met on the sidewalk between our homes. Maggie was in an offensive stance when I approached. Her facial expression seemed curious of me. Maggie was interested to see me and lunged towards me excitedly. The neighbor had Maggie on a leash, so Maggie did not make contact with me. As I walked up and greeted my neighbor and Maggie, I avoided direct eye contact with Maggie. Knowing that Maggie is an excited dog, I engaged with my neighbor for a few minutes while Maggie got acquainted with me on her own. Maggie did acknowledge me by rubbing/pushing her snout against my body. When I turned my attention to Maggie, she became excited and attempted to jump on me. I had an assertive leadership mindset and told Maggie with a firm “no” that jumping was not needed. I directed Maggie towards a blanket I had setup by my front door. Maggie followed me to the blanket but was not interested in sitting on the blanket. I then got a grip on the leash and escorted Maggie to the blanket. As I got down at Maggie’s level, she seemed to calm down quite a bit. While down at Maggie’s level she seemed to want affection. When I was on the ground, Maggie got closer to me while I petted her. When I stopped for a moment, Maggie pawed at me and seemed to indicate she wanted more petting. I obliged and Maggie seemed to become more relaxed and at ease. During the initial approach, Maggie was wide eyed and excited. Maggie calmed down after I engaged with her owner a bit and she was able to sniff me. When I was petting Maggie she seemed to be in a relaxed state due to semi squinting her eyes and her breathing was more calm and steady. Maggie remained calm and relaxed with me until the petting session was over and I got up. The moment I got up Maggie became her usual excited two-year-old self.

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