This weekend I attended a Bridget Carlsen dog training seminar put on by a local dog club. I had signed up for this seminar quite a while ago, and I remember how excited I had been at the time to get one of the limited working spots. But then during the long wait I attended the Denise Fenzi seminar which was just so good, I was seriously thinking of letting my working spot go to someone else. But I didn’t and I attended the seminar with Grace as my working dog. Ultimately, I am really glad that I attended.
I am really bad about taking notes at Seminars. I wish I were better. I find I spend all my time listening and watching for those small things I can take with me to use. I know that her style of training is not something that everyone would be comfortable with, but I found that there were so many points and aspects in her training that were brilliant. Her end result working style with her dogs is a bit more extreme than I care for. It's extremely flashy and showy though, and quite inspiring to see. Her dogs do appear to love working with her, in fact the only issue I saw the dogs have with her was having to leave her to go into a kennel, where none of them preferred to be.
I loved her version of jackpotting, which is a form of working for your meals, but the way she is doing it, it truly is a cue you can carry over to the show ring. The corgis and I are starting this tonight. I liked her sit, back sit, or down, back down, we are going to incorporate this too. I found a ton of merit in how she trains her young dogs at slow speed. I can see how it would help the dogs put the whole picture together. I AM going to teach gloves the demonstrated them last night, that just made so much sense to me. I think I may wind up switching to her method for Magic's scent articles, as it utilizes tied down articles and I am hoping it can help cure him of his need to bring back every dumbbell he sees regardless of the scent on them. (ever seen a corgi try to get a 4th metal article in his mouth). There is quite a bit more I am sure once I go through the notes I did take.
Bridget is not a purely positive trainer. Her dogs do get corrections. They are told when they are wrong, they have consequences. They are given a poke or a squeeze, or physically placed into a position. Yet they were very happy, very stable, adoring dogs just dying to get out and work with her. I feel I am primarily a positive trainer, but I do find that I am not totally averse to using some corrections, and or body positioning-in some situations. Many of you know that Grace tends to be very barky. This weekend I tried Bridget's correction, a verbal no and a muzzle grab, followed by praise when quiet which worked pretty well. Now I am not talking about a painful grab or squeeze, just a hold, which seemed to help her understand the part I didn't like was the mouth, not the rest of what she was doing. 2 corrections like this while ringside and the barking stopped, and she waited patiently for quite a while.
On the other hand, there were some times when I felt the correction was excessive and beyond my comfort level. I don't use a prong myself, I train in a wider flat buckle. I did feel uncomfortable with some of the usage, but that was student dogs. And in all honesty, these dogs did take very tough corrections and keep right on with no noticable changes to the attitude. I do know some people who do use prongs and I totally respect them. I will physically place my dogs into position if needed and I don't find it offensive. Maybe that comes from hand stacking a dog on the conformation table, but my dogs have never been bothered by that, or by me replacing a foot where I want it. I think like many things, how a person trains can vary widely and still be fine. I want my dogs to want to work with me and be my partner. I think they do. They all ask for work time. Trimming toenails, that would be another story, none of them ask for that.