Training Template

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Postby maberi » February 23rd, 2010, 11:08 am

I'm in the process of putting together some information on training for the shelter I volunteer at so I can present it to the staff at the next monthly meeting. I would like to implement some basic clicker training techniques for the staff and volunteers as well as develop some basic protocols when working with the dogs. I spoke with the director of the shelter the other day and she happened to mention that her and another worker just got an overview of clicker training at Best Friends and they were so excited about it, so I figured this is perfect timing.

One of the things I would like to try to develop is a training information form to post on the dogs kennel so the volunteers have an understanding of what things the dog is working on and how to handle certain situations if they arise.

A good example is Manny who I posted in the rescue section. Many is a big strong brindle pit bull who is intimidating to many of the workers. In reality, he is a big mush who has just never had any structure or training. He has the classic bully displacement behavior of grabbing onto the leash and tugging on it when he gets overly excited or aroused, and when I arrived at the shelter, a few of the workers were worried that this was aggression. I spent a half hour with him and he didn't once show the behavior. Was very calm and relaxed and spent most of his time on his back letting me scratch his belly. Once I handed the leash back to one of the volunteers they started smacking him on the butt, screaming his name and of course he immediately grabbed the leash and started tugging. I showed her how to stop this behavior and gave her some info on preventing it, but I'm only there a few days out of the week and would like to put together something to help the volunteers when I'm not there.

I know this is probably a long shot, but does anyone have a training outline or sheet that is customizable based on the dog. I'd like to include things the dog knows, things the dog is working on and how to handle certain behaviors if they pop up. I thought if there was something out there I could work off of it would save me a little time in creating one from scratch.
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 23rd, 2010, 11:12 am

I'm not good at keeping records, but I do have some forms around...let me see what I have.
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 23rd, 2010, 11:15 am

I've used Steve White's training forms in the past for clients...and for SDiTs that I have...

the Daily Work Schedule one looks like something that might work for you...but the Taproot and Shaping plan might work too...here's the link for all of the forms:

http://i2ik9.com/sampform.htm
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby maberi » February 23rd, 2010, 11:26 am

Awesome, thanks so much Erin!!
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Postby tiva » February 23rd, 2010, 11:43 am

For each of the key behaviors, I'd make up a card that included simple instructions for getting the behavior, a few key visuals, and then a chart for recording information on that particular dog. Then each dog would get the appropriate cards put up on her kennel door, for whichever behaviors are of highest priority for that dog. Each time a trainer or volunteer worked with the dog, she would take out the correct set of cards, follow the directions, and record the trial results, then put the cards back on the kennel door. Each week or night the training coordinator would record the information into her database and decide what behaviors each dog needs to focus on for the coming week.

Or at least, that's how we did it in grad school with wild critters!
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Postby maberi » February 24th, 2010, 3:01 pm

Thanks for all the info

I drafted up a training and bio sheet for Manny with instructions for his training and problem behaviors. I'm going to post it on his kennel door tonight and review it with the volunteers that work with him. I'm also going to use Nancy's idea and have a training feedback form so the volunteers can fill out information on things they worked on and the results.

If I can get some consistency in how people are handling him, I think his behavior will dramatically improve in a short time. The shelter is 50 miles from my house so I can only get out there a few times per week, but if I can get the regulars on board, I think it will make everyone's lives a little easier.
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Postby airwalk » February 24th, 2010, 8:43 pm

Matt you are wonderful, every shelter should have someone that cares as much as you do and has your knowledge. Keep your forms easy sneezy...remember most volunteers have heart, love and passion...very little knowledge and even less willingness to do paperwork. They want to play with dogs.

You are right, the greater the consistency the greater the outcomes and if you can get shelter staff on board, you're in, because once convinced they will help monitor other volunteers and help convince them to do it the Matt way.

I have found that short (like 1/2 hour) training sessions with volunteers on clicker training and luring have helped. I started with Level 1..this is a clicker..this is a treat...this is how they work together. Level 2...here's how to fit a dog with the proper equipment to walk them, here is the proper way to get them out of the run, Level 3..here is how to lure a dog into a sit..here is how to teach leave it. I consider sit and leave it, emergency commands so those are the first two things I try to get everyone to teach.

Erin..have you seen the new Canny Collars. So far we really like them. We have a couple of knot heads that have been complete buggers to walk (like dislocate the shoulder of an NFL Offensive lineman bugger). The Canny collars seem to be better accepted by the dogs, doesn't reef on the neck but maintains control.
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Postby madremissy » February 24th, 2010, 9:08 pm

This thread makes me smile. :D Great info from everyone.
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Postby amazincc » February 25th, 2010, 12:12 am

airwalk wrote:
Erin..have you seen the new Canny Collars. So far we really like them. We have a couple of knot heads that have been complete buggers to walk (like dislocate the shoulder of an NFL Offensive lineman bugger). The Canny collars seem to be better accepted by the dogs, doesn't reef on the neck but maintains control.



Oh, we have one of those!!! :shock: :D
When Sepp temporarily "misplaced" his brain on walks a couple of months ago I used that a few times, w/a flat-buckle collar as back-up, and it was amazing to see how fast he remembered his leash manners. :dance:
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 25th, 2010, 12:50 am

amazincc wrote:
airwalk wrote:
Erin..have you seen the new Canny Collars. So far we really like them. We have a couple of knot heads that have been complete buggers to walk (like dislocate the shoulder of an NFL Offensive lineman bugger). The Canny collars seem to be better accepted by the dogs, doesn't reef on the neck but maintains control.



Oh, we have one of those!!! :shock: :D
When Sepp temporarily "misplaced" his brain on walks a couple of months ago I used that a few times, w/a flat-buckle collar as back-up, and it was amazing to see how fast he remembered his leash manners. :dance:


Yup, seen those...we carry a similar head halter...New Trix...for the Fidos dogs. Easier for the clients to use, so the leash doesn't get stuck underneath the dog's chin while they're working.

http://www.newtrix.ca/index.cfm?page=ourProducts
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby maberi » February 25th, 2010, 9:42 am

Are those collars fairly easy to fit? Trying to teach a shelter dog how to walk nicely on a leash definitely isn't easy. We have a couple of dogs that are strong as mules and you are trying to keep a happy medium between training and letting them burn off some steam.

The one thing I'm constantly struggling with is training the volunteers not to be so excited and high energy around the dogs. They shower the dogs with affection which is great, but they do it in such an excited high energy manner that it amps the dogs up and encourages bad behaviors.
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 25th, 2010, 9:51 am

maberi wrote:Are those collars fairly easy to fit? Trying to teach a shelter dog how to walk nicely on a leash definitely isn't easy. We have a couple of dogs that are strong as mules and you are trying to keep a happy medium between training and letting them burn off some steam.

The one thing I'm constantly struggling with is training the volunteers not to be so excited and high energy around the dogs. They shower the dogs with affection which is great, but they do it in such an excited high energy manner that it amps the dogs up and encourages bad behaviors.


I don't know about the Canny Collar...but I find the New Trix collar to be a pain in the A$$. :rolleyes2: And that's on Assistance dogs...not shelter dogs...lol
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby airwalk » February 25th, 2010, 12:58 pm

maberi wrote:Are those collars fairly easy to fit? Trying to teach a shelter dog how to walk nicely on a leash definitely isn't easy. We have a couple of dogs that are strong as mules and you are trying to keep a happy medium between training and letting them burn off some steam.

The one thing I'm constantly struggling with is training the volunteers not to be so excited and high energy around the dogs. They shower the dogs with affection which is great, but they do it in such an excited high energy manner that it amps the dogs up and encourages bad behaviors.


The Canny Collar is easy sneezy...it fits like a collar and then slides up over the nose. All the hookups are in the back of the dogs head just like most collar clips.
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Postby airwalk » February 25th, 2010, 1:05 pm

Take a look here, this is where we bought ours. We have a couple of strong as an ox pullers...the Canny collar totally changes the dynamics of a walk. So they get to burn off steam and you don't have to have shoulder surgery.

http://www.cannyco.us/
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Postby tiva » February 27th, 2010, 9:58 am

Our experience with the following and Vanya:
1. Canny collar:
PROS: very strong and solid (much more solid than the gentle leader); easy to fit (no fitting involved, actually); does help reduce pulling; very easy to slip the nose piece over the nose when it's needed and slip it off for the rest of the walk; no need for a backup to a regular collar; does not seem to tighten as painfully as the GL nose piece; does not seem to make my dog as reactive when it tightens suddenly, perhaps because it loosens more quickly and easily

CONS: like all head harnesses, needs a lot of work to make the dog happy with it; compared to the GL does NOT give as much control over the head for a dog who might lunge; quite easy for the dog to paw off the nose piece off if you're not paying close attention

2. NewTrix: I couldn't ever get this to fit right on Vanya; he hated it, much more so than the GL or Canny collar (but that's probably because I couldn't get the durn thing to fit right)

3. Gentle Leader
PROS: a lot of control over the head
CONS: seems very flimsy; always needs to be backed up with a regular collar and leash; needs a lot of work to make the dog love it; suppresses behavior a bit; can be hard to release tension on it, so can increase reactivity in my dog. And to be honest, it seems to hurt a LOT when it tightens around the muzzle

4. sens-ible front attachment harness
PROS: takes no time to desensitize or countercondition; can start using immediately; doesn't seem to suppress behavior at all; easy to fit; reduces pulling by about 80- 90%
CONS: no control of the head in case of aggression or lunging; does need to be backed up with a connection to a flat collar; a strong dog CAN pull in it--so the person needs to continue thinking about training. You are not supposed to run in this harness, because it might rub under the arms if you do

5. premier sure-fit harness (not sold as a anti-pull harness)
PROS: if you use the front attachment clip, it acts as a anti-pull harness; if you use the back clip, it acts as a pull harness, so you can quickly switch back and forth, depending what your goals are at the moment. You can run without worry. If you have a sudden urge to track bunnies, you can do it in this harness. The dog can wear this around the house.
CONS: not quite as much anti-pull leverage as the sensible. Also needs to have a second safety attachment to the collar, for escape artists

99% of the time, we leash walk in one of our harnesses. In my pocket, I always carry the GL on a second leash, so that if we have to pass a dog close up, I can slip it on and control my reactive pup's head.

For shelter dogs, if volunteers don't have the time it takes to counter-condition them to LOVE a head halter, I'd go with the sensible front attachment harness.
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Postby airwalk » February 27th, 2010, 10:47 am

By and large I agree with the information. The front clip harness, however, does not work on all of our dogs and the Canny Collar does not seem to take very long to get the dog accustomed to its use.
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Postby tiva » February 27th, 2010, 2:34 pm

airwalk wrote: The front clip harness, however, does not work on all of our dogs.
Yep--I wrote that it reduces pulling in my strongest dog by about 80 to 90%. That remaining 10 to 20% is still enough to wrench a shoulder out of joint, of course, if I'm not paying attention and Vanya sees something that he really wants to go after. It's not a magic bullet, that's for sure.
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