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Discussion Starter #1
I have never taught the article exercises for AKC UD. It's time!

I am also about to have a pretty major surgery and will be pretty imobile for several weeks. Do you think that the articles can be taught from the couch or will that complicate everything? My dog is highly motivated and doesn't shut down. He is always happy to work, in fact, his enthusiasm can sometimes be inconvienient.

Do you think it'll screw him up if I try to teach this stuff laying down?
 

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Does your dog already have a CDX ? I'm just wondering what his present skill set is, ballpark estimate. I'm also wondering how you are going to teach this if you are somewhat incapacitated.

But to try and answer your question, I don't think laying down to teach certain basic components will screw him up. I like the idea of using different geometrically shaped objects, here .. http://www.clickertraining.com/node/1121

IMO, if you get far enough along, the only element that may deteriorate slightly is fronts, of course. And I wouldn't worry about those until the final stages anyway. In this video you can see how fronts, presentation, finishes etc are totally cast aside while enthusiasm, and even more importantly, CORRECT CHOICES are valued and reinforced, as the groundwork for the finished product .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=132Sa139gFc

Hope all goes well with your surgery.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the links and well-wishes! My dog has only been in open for two runs. He Qed his first time out with an ugly 186 and NQed the second day, sinking on the sit at 2:05 after a fly was pestering him. We had a less-ugly 193 going before the sink. He's a rookie in open, but does know his job.
 

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I know absolutely nothing about scent work! Lol! I just want to wish you well on your surgery. :)
 

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By the time a dog is moving into Utility, he's probably not going to be as context dependent as a green dog. I say go for it. But possibly keep the lessons informal and fun rather than trying an actual Utility scent exercise.
 

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Does your dog already have a CDX ? I'm just wondering what his present skill set is, ballpark estimate. I'm also wondering how you are going to teach this if you are somewhat incapacitated.

But to try and answer your question, I don't think laying down to teach certain basic components will screw him up. I like the idea of using different geometrically shaped objects, here .. http://www.clickertraining.com/node/1121

I generally start teaching Open and Utility work while the dog is still in Novice. A) Novice exercises are all control based and booooorrrrring to the dog (and at least to this handler) and B) I don't want to have to train a whole new level every time I complete a title. I'd much rather just need to polish them up. An additional perk to teaching articles early is that you don't have to then unconvince the dog that it is simply a retrieve.
IMO, if you get far enough along, the only element that may deteriorate slightly is fronts, of course. And I wouldn't worry about those until the final stages anyway. In this video you can see how fronts, presentation, finishes etc are totally cast aside while enthusiasm, and even more importantly, CORRECT CHOICES are valued and reinforced, as the groundwork for the finished product .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=132Sa139gFc

Hope all goes well with your surgery.
I generally start teaching Open and Utility work while the dog is still in Novice. A) Novice exercises are all control based and booooorrrrring to the dog (and at least to this handler) and B) I don't want to have to train a whole new level every time I complete a title. I'd much rather just need to polish them up. An additional perk to teaching articles early is that you don't have to then unconvince the dog that it is simply a retrieve.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I generally start teaching Open and Utility work while the dog is still in Novice. A) Novice exercises are all control based and booooorrrrring to the dog (and at least to this handler) and B) I don't want to have to train a whole new level every time I complete a title. I'd much rather just need to polish them up. An additional perk to teaching articles early is that you don't have to then unconvince the dog that it is simply a retrieve.
I wish I had done that! This is my first journey past novice, so I completely relied on my instructor, who has never aquired a UD or even stepped on the mat to try. My new dog has started all of the CDX work and she has yet to show and you are right, it's more fun for both of us. As soon as I figure out how the teach the utility stuff, I will work on it with the youngter as well. I live in a bleak corner of the world that still relies on prongs, long-lines, and ear pinches so for the most part, I've been training on my own. I got totally stopped dead because of the ear pinch. I tried working with 3 trainers who wouldn't let me advance with them until I could demostrate the ear pinch which I flat-out refused to do. The 4th trainer asked for it but let me go on when I told her we would talk about if my dog ever refused a retrieve under any circumstances. My dog would rather die than fail to retrieve, even if the dumbell is stationary instead of thrown. The article confusion that you mentioned will likely be a real problem for us. He's a big-time doer, not a thinker. It ought to be interesting!

My J and J shipment is here! Time to open the box and play!

Thank you for the well-wishes!!! I will know my date with the scalpel tomorrow! Gotta walk the dogs now! I am told it will be 8 weeks before I can hold a leash again. This is one of the rare times when I bemoan owning 3 very high-energy dogs!
 

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I got totally stopped dead because of the ear pinch. I tried working with 3 trainers who wouldn't let me advance with them until I could demostrate the ear pinch which I flat-out refused to do. The 4th trainer asked for it but let me go on when I told her we would talk about if my dog ever refused a retrieve under any circumstances. My dog would rather die than fail to retrieve, even if the dumbell is stationary instead of thrown. The article confusion that you mentioned will likely be a real problem for us. He's a big-time doer, not a thinker. It ought to be interesting!

My J and J shipment is here! Time to open the box and play!
I wish I had had the guts to say "no" when my instructors told me I had to do an ear-pinch. I know a lot of people who never make it past novice because of that. And I have great respect for them for having the courage to be their dog's advocate (I still apologize to those dogs long gone, though I know that being good dogs, they forgave my lack of fortitude and my gutlessness in not stainding up for them.) At the time, I had no idea how to do anything else and my ego was big enough that I wanted to compete, title, place and get national rankings. But, I've since found that a shaped retrieve, in addition to not making me feel like a rotten owner, is happer, easier to teach and a lot more consistent. If I only knew then what I know now. . .
 

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My J and J shipment is here! Time to open the box and play!
Question for Pawz. What are your thoughts on using the actual articles to teach, as opposed to transferring / generalizing the skills once they have initially been learned on other, but alike material, objects ? Wouldn't the latter help to prevent any potential negative associations ? .. considering it can be a very complicated excercise for many dogs to grasp, especially in the early stages.

I'm ... just genuinely curious.
 

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Question for Pawz. What are your thoughts on using the actual articles to teach, as opposed to transferring / generalizing the skills once they have initially been learned on other, but alike material, objects ? Wouldn't the latter help to prevent any potential negative associations ? .. considering it can be a very complicated excercise for many dogs to grasp, especially in the early stages.

I'm ... just genuinely curious.
You know what I start with? plastic easter eggs. Handle only one and put a treat in it. It seems to get the idea across to the dog that they are scenting instead of looking. I also start with three like objects (one of these things is not like the other) iF the dog is hard mouthed, I use some open ended rubber toys I found at TSC. When I am ready to go to articles I teach metal, then leather, and when they are doing a full set of each, go to three of each. I don't click for articles, because you never are able to tell exactly WHAT the dog is smelling. He may be hovering over one article while he's actually catching the scent of a different one.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
How interesting! Food for thought!

I trained a couple of narcotics dogs through certification and active duty, so my dogs know how to intentionally use their nose and follow a line established by my hand indications. Not sure if that will help in training articles, but might.

All of my dogs also play the "Shell Game" where there are 10 containers but only one with a treat. They are good at that game too...

Lots to think about as far as strategy. Thank you for the conversation!
 

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You know what I start with? plastic easter eggs. Handle only one and put a treat in it. It seems to get the idea across to the dog that they are scenting instead of looking. I also start with three like objects (one of these things is not like the other) iF the dog is hard mouthed, I use some open ended rubber toys I found at TSC. When I am ready to go to articles I teach metal, then leather, and when they are doing a full set of each, go to three of each. I don't click for articles, because you never are able to tell exactly WHAT the dog is smelling. He may be hovering over one article while he's actually catching the scent of a different one.
Agreed on the easter eggs. Those elongated, hard plastic tube "thingies" that originally come with candy (skittles?) inside, can work well too. Modify by drilling a ventilation hole in opposing ends, insert a smelly treat inside, and snap the lid closed. Use two tubes, one with a treat, one with no treat. Bring the correct one to me and I'll open it to dispense the reward. Same basic idea as the plastic egg I assume, although the tubes have more of a cylindrical shape to them, vaguely similar to a dowel. Perhaps easier for the dog to grasp in it's mouth, and present.

During the intermediate stages of teaching, I've substituted mason jar rings for metal, the smaller rolled rawhide stix for leather, and non-spring loaded clothes pins for wood (there are three article materials in CKC utility). My understanding is that these items could, legally, be used in an actual trial if the handler really wished to do so. I've also heard that in "the old days", handlers would routinely use the tongues from discarded baby shoes as the leather articles. Slightly before my time but maybe wvasko could enlighten us regarding this ... lol.

Anyways, FWIW, I prefer to save the genuine articles for the latter stages of teaching. Just a personal choice in my case, individuals should suit themselves and their dogs, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I went with narrow PVC pipe, 6 inches long, with plastic ends. Each tube has 3 holes drilled in it. Made 5 of them. I filled one with dog food, the others are empty.

Bringing me the correct tube, the one with dog food, gets a food reward. The empties get a repeated, "find it" command. It took about 20 minutes for my dog to figure it out. It was a blast to watch the lights "come on" as he realized that there was a goal beyond rapidly bringing me all of them. A ton of fun! I don't think I would do it this way with my other two dogs. I should have started with 2 items probably. My girls would have considered quitting. My male would repeat futile acts for a month before getting depressed.

My husband thought that 20 minutes was too long for a dog to figure it out. I thought my dog was brilliant to get it that quickly despite my poor set up.
 

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You know what I start with? plastic easter eggs. Handle only one and put a treat in it..
If I may present an opposite view.

The method we use to teach the scent discrimination exercise is called the "around-the-clock" method. It uses the exact articles that you and your dog will be using in the ring from the start - no speclal 'training articles' are used. In other words, you'll have to select and acquire the articles that you will be using before you start training. That also means you will NOT be using anything made out of plastic. There are a lot of styles of scent articles around - as well as ones you can make - and the proper size of the articles is also very important in getting this exercise right. So you must do your research on all that beforehand.

Some handlers do keep two identical article sets - one set for training and one set for trials - but most just use the one set for both.

The dumb-bell style is the most common because dogs are famillar with that shape from their earlier training but you can use whatever works so long as it meets the regulations.

IMHO, the best way to get started with this method is to get Janice DiMello's DVD (or to work with a trainer who follows the method.)

The method DOES require you to be up and about with your dog during the training, so it would not be suitable for someone like the OP who is immobilized.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks! I just ordered the DVD. I already have my articles. They aren't open yet, but I have them! I am getting around better than expected. In another week, I ought to be able to work with the dumbbells. The plastic tubes were fun and fast. My dog understands to use his nose and pull the tube with food in it out of the 5.
 
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