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John Rogerson Seminar report

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Old October 25th 03, 07:31 AM
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Default John Rogerson Seminar report

This past weekend John Rogerson came to Anchorage for a seminar at my club.
I was unable to attend the two lecture sessions on saturday and sunday
because i needed to work quite a bit, but i gather they were innovative and
interesting. I was able to attend the individual sessions with John on
Monday, and signed up to ask him for suggestions with Kavik's leaking

He first did some chat about barking, which gained him my confidence. He
spoke about not stopping dogs from barking, especially at class, because its
just their method of commnication. In the home he spoke of using a
technique similar to what works with Tok - he waits until there is a pause
in the barking and then says. "good dog". I hadn't been waiting for the
pause, but it seems to work better that way than my usual "Its fine Tok, no
worries" as the dog starts barking.

The thing that was impressed upon me the most was his use of the dogs
relationship with the owner to change the dogs behavior. This seems to be
contradictory to much of the operant conditioning we have been using to
train our dogs with.

For example, there was a very dog aggressive belgian. He put two leashes
on the dog and he held one and mom held one. The dog was walked near
another dog and as the dog began to pull towards the other dog the mom was
to throw the leash down with disgust, and speak loudly with disgust and
leave the room. The belgian was rather upset by this and wanted to go to
mom, but John kept her on the leash and walked her around. Every time she
looked at the other dog he pulled the leash so that the belgian was forced
closer to the other dog (explaining to us "you want a piece of that? I'll
give you a piece of that"). After a couple of repetitions the dog wouldn't
go anywhere near the object of the aggression. Her mom returned and they
walked towards the dog again. The belgian looked and walked as far away
from that dog as possible.

The other thing that was contradictory to so much i have learned is that
john often ends a training session on a BAD NOTE deliberately. He describes
a situation where his tracking dog knows very well how to find objects
hidden in a big field. Occasionally, he lets them loose in an empty field
with no objects, and tells them to find the objects. After a few minutes
they begin to get discouraged. He ends the session and while he distracts
his dog his wife throws a toy into the field. Instead of allowing his dog
to find the toy, he makes his dog watch as her dog finds the toy. He
believes this motivates a dog to work harder next time.

I took Kavik there to ask about his leaking problem. Kavik really has the
qualities that would make him an excellent therapy dog except that he leaks
when enthusiastic people say hello. John wanted to know if it was physical,
and i said maybe - he had had a bladder infection that went on for a couple
of months as a pup. He asked me to rev Kavik up with a toy, and i did. We
tugged and fetched. After a few minutes he had someone greet kavik. Kavik
barely noticed at first and managed to only leak a tiny drop of pee after a
very enthusiastic greeting. From the fact that kavik was able to be revved
up with the toy and not pee, john gleaned that it is NOT physical. It must
be fear. He said obviously kavik is a friendly and confident dog with just
enough fear to make him pee. His suggestion was to leave Kavik in a busy
household of several people for a weekend. Then a different household the
next and a third. He felt that Kavik could eventually be desensitized to the
peeing this way. I am certainly skeptical, but he has to go stay with aunt
katie in a couple of weeks anyway and she has lots of guests in and out. So
its a start.

In any case, the seminar was interesting. I liked that john used a variety
of techniques ranging from clickers to facial expressions. Very innovative


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