The Trendsetter in Canine Performance Video!™


05May2014

Training Through Pictures with Dave Kroyer - Learning to Learn wins a Hermes Creative Gold Award!

Posted by Doug Calhoun

Columbia, MO- May 5, 2014- Canine Training Systems, the leading provider of broadcast quality instructional training titles for sport, service and companion dogs, today announced that their most recent offering, Training Through Pictures with Dave Kroyer- Learning to Learn DVD has been awarded a 2014 Hermes Creative Gold Award.

The Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. Hermes Creative Awards recognizes outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals. Hermes is administered and judged by the AMCP (Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals), which consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media promotion and free-lance professionals. Judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry. The Gold Award is presented to those judged to exceed the high standards of the industry norm. You can learn more about the Hermes Creative Awards here.

"This is the second award won by this title in as many days of sales! We're very proud of the title and are always happy to receive feedback from industry professionals about the quality of work we're producing"- commented Doug Calhoun, producer, writer and director. The much anticipated Training Through Picture with Dave Kroyer- Learning to Learn DVD is being replicated and is due to ship 5/1/14. "We couple with the 'best of the best' trainers to produce video titles that enable individuals to understand the systems of training used by the top trainers in multiple disciplines of dog sport. Our technical experts are competitors, coaches, world team members and seminar presenters both nationally and internationally. What sets us apart is not only the caliber of trainer we work with and their successes but our ability to convey information in a meaningful way to a multitude of people in multiple languages across the world."

"Although the DVD took quite a while to produce, the project was a major undertaking for a few reasons. Up to this point in dog sports, no one has really touched on this type of training and theory and the beginning stages are very 'conceptual'. It's not really a 'this is how to teach sit,down,heel behaviors' project.  It's something MUCH greater and has many depths and layers to it.  It was crucial my info made a clean transfer from outline to script into narration and video.  Doug and CTS hit it outta the park!!!  It's a beautiful production and I feel the info is ULTRACLEAR!  I am super proud of the work everyone has contributed to the project" added Dave Kroyer.
Learning to Learn is a highly anticipated release from Canine Training Systems.  Known as a teacher of trainers, a competitor and coach, David Kroyer and his students have stood atop podiums in the arenas of Schutzhund/IPO, Mondio and French Ring Sport, Police K9, AKC Obedience, Agility, SAR and AKC Tracking.  He has represented the United States Internationally on multiple World Teams while gaining notoriety both domestically and abroad.  As a student of animal behavior, Dave's approach to training is intuitive, calculated and utilizes the tools and techniques of many disciplines and styles in a system of training that has helped his students achieve National and International success.  


Featuring detailed instructional footage throughout, beautiful illustrative graphics and a step-by-step progression of the first 8 months of Dave's system, this title is ideal for anyone wanting a broad, comprehensive foundation in dog sport.  This title features rare footage of the father of Classical Conditioning, Ivan Pavlov, and his experiments on salivary secretions.  Beneficial to puppy owners, trainers with problem dogs or anyone wanting a more clear understanding of how to isolate behaviors.  For any trainer wanting to establish or teach students to create a dynamic, interactive worker while establishing a common language, this title is a must have!

“Dave Kroyer's foundation work is best described as multi-dimensional”, commented Calhoun.  “Conceptually, the dog is able to learn new behaviors incredibly quickly.  Because the dog understands the concept of behavior first, then reward, the dog is free to offer behaviors, even in the immediate presence of highly desirable rewards.  This lack of understanding in many systems of training is a roadblock to precision and flexibility in what a dog can achieve.”


Product Highlights

  • This production details a systematic approach that yields a strong partnership based on trust, reliable, clean dialog and a habit of correct performance
  • The integration of auditory behavior markers into the training routine is demonstrated and efficacy is discussed
  • Through shaping positive, clean habits, Dave circumvents many bad habits that are byproducts of traditional methods
  • The dog is taught the concept of 'Targeting' which teaches the relationship of behavior first, then reward
  • Through Targeting, the dog is "untethered" from the handler which removes the handler as a lure from the training environment and expands behavioral possibilities including motion work, send-aways, object guard, scent indication and more
  • Because the foundation work in Dave's system is multi-dimensional, the concepts taught are beneficial for ANY dog sport- Kennel Club Obedience, IPO, Ring Sport, Agility, Nose Work, Police K9, pet training and more
  • This Hi-Definition, 16:9 aspect ratio production is available on professionally authored and replicated DVD for playback on the widest variety of consumer equipment.


Pricing and Availability
Training Through Pictures with Dave Kroyer- Learning to Learn, is immediately available through the Canine Training Systems worldwide reseller channel and direct from the Canine Training Systems website at www.caninetrainingsystems.com for an MSRP of $79.95.  The website contains a detailed outline as well as excerpts from the 105 minute, hi-definition title here.


About Canine Training Systems
Founded in 1987, Canine Training Systems is the worldwide leader in instructional titles for pet owners, dog sport competitors, industry professionals and institutions of higher education.  The company’s success lies in its ability to couple with the experts in service, sport and companion dog training and deliver their techniques to consumers through the most up-to-date delivery formats.  With the strength of their growing expert list, no other organization in the market place can offer the variety of techniques, disciplines, depth of knowledge or quality of product that Canine Training Systems routinely provides it’s worldwide customer base.


Canine Training Systems Press Contact
Douglas Calhoun
+1(573) 214-0900
doug@caninetrainingsystems.com


29Apr2014

Sometimes it's all about timing...Training Through Picures with Dave Kroyer- Learning to Learn wins a 2014 Communicator Award!

Canine Training Systems Wins 2014 Communicator Award of Distinction for Training Through Pictures- Learning to Learn with Dave KroyerSometimes it's all about timing.  Training Through Pictures with Dave Kroyer- Learning to Learn is gorgeous.  It contains 1,500 clips (video, narration, graphics, overlays etc.) and was, like other projects complicated, labor intensive and like a puzzle that needed carefully assembled.  Because it's the basis for Dave's detail-rich system of training, it was critical to take the time to explain what is conceptually broad and underlying to nearly everything Dave does for any dog in any dog sport.  At 105 minutes in Hi-Definition, it was a balancing act to keep the editing system healthy with multiple titles in the series in production.

The completion of the title coincided with many award competitions for broadcast producers.  We anticipated feedback from consumers first with competition feedback trickling in later.  We were wrong.  We knew the title was good, Dave previewed a rough cut during a Dave Kroyer Academy class and we sent out production roughs to professional videographers, editors and content creators in advance to get feedback.  We're pleased with the result, a pre-release 2014 Communicator Award of Distinction!

Other competitions have accepted our entry and we're excited to hear back from them as well.  Most importantly, we hope the video helps the individuals that purchase it and use it's content.  We made it because of you, for your dog, but more importantly for your team and for dog sport.  That's why we do what we do.  It takes a long time.  It's expensive to produce.  It's not easy.  It's gorgeous.  The DVD's are en route and will ship this week. 

From Dave Kroyer-

"Although the DVD took quite a while to produce, the project was a major undertaking for a few reasons. Up to this point in dog sports, no one has really touched on this type of training and theory and the beginning stages are very 'conceptual'. It's not really a 'this is how to teach sit,down,heel behaviors' project.  It's something MUCH greater and has many depths and layers to it.  It was crucial my info made a clean transfer from outline to script into narration and video.  Doug and CTS hit it outta the park!!!  It's a beautiful production and I feel the info is ULTRACLEAR!  I am super proud of the work everyone has contributed to the project!"

As always, we truly appreciate your business and hope you enjoy the final product!

 


18Mar2014

Training Through Pictures with Dave Kroyer- Learning to Learn DVD

It feels like we're about to step across the finish line at a marathon.  Over 1,500 (one thousand five hundred) video, audio, overlay and graphical elements have magically stumbled together to create a gorgeous, detailed introduction into the much anticipated Training Through Pictures Sport Dog Series! The date is nearly upon us!  The much anticipated Training Through Picture with Dave Kroyer- Learning to Learn DVD is being replicated.  Once we have an arrival date, we'll begin pre-orders. 

It's absolutely gorgeous.  Really gorgeous.  It's detail rich, full of information on the first 6-8 months of Dave's system of training.  Whether you're working a puppy, new dog, needing to fix some problems or training across venues, this title is ideal.  There is a long laundry list of topics that are detailed over the course of 105 minutes.  This is the longest title we've produced and despite it's length, it's not a seminar or survey video!  It's the quality you expect, carefully written, meticulously filmed, edited, narrated and beautifully packaged!  This is the foundation of Dave's multi-dimensional system of training!

Here's the first 5 minutes.  If you'd like to be notified upon availability of the remaining 100 minutes, join our newsletter list, send us an email, or follow us on Facebook

And......Action...

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The definitive guide on the first 6-8 months with your puppy or working dog with Dave Kroyer!  Known as a teacher of trainers, a competitor and coach, David Kroyer and his students have stood atop podiums in the arenas of Schutzhund/IPO, Mondio and French Ring Sport, Police K9, AKC Obedience, Agility, SAR and AKC Tracking.  He has represented the United States Internationally on multiple World Teams while gaining notoriety both domestically and abroad.  As a student of animal behavior, Dave's approach to training is intuitive, calculated and utilizes the tools and techniques of many disciplines and styles in a system of training that has helped his students achieve National and International success.


Through a systematic approach that yields a strong partnership based on trust, reliable, clean dialog and a habit of correct performance, the techniques in Dave’s system repeatedly demonstrate how to create a picture of excellence and shape your dog into an eager, engaged, interactive learner capable of the success you strive for regardless of discipline.


Featuring detailed instructional footage throughout, beautiful illustrative graphics and a step-by-step progression of the first 8 months of Dave's system, this title is ideal for anyone wanting a broad, comprehensive foundation in dog sport.  This title is multi-dimensional and the concepts taught are beneficial for ANY dog sport- Kennel Club Obedience, IPO, Ring Sport, Agility, Nose Work, Police K9 and more.  This title features rare footage of the father of Classical Conditioning, Ivan Pavlov, and his experiments on salivary secretions.  Beneficial to puppy owners, trainers with problem dogs or anyone wanting a more clear understanding of how to isolate behaviors.  To anyone wanting to create a dynamic, interactive worker while establishing a common language, this title is a must have!

Copyright 2014 Canine Training Systems®, 16:9 Widescreen Hi-Definition DVD, 105 minutes.

 

 


17Mar2014

An Introduction to Toy Interaction in the Working dog with Dave Kroyer- Part 1

Phone Interview with CTS President, Doug Calhoun, and Dave Kroyer.

Q: What is the biggest problem you see regarding prey/toy interaction?

A: There’s a number of problems but the first one I’ll mention as the biggest problem is, what is the contract between the handler, toy or prey item and the dog.  When I talk about a contract, what I mean is, what are the rules that the dog and handler have to follow to be able to use that prey item in some type of productive way?

Q: What is the ideal contract?

A: There are 2 or 3 things and in no special order.  The first thing I need the dog to understand is that the toy belongs to me, the handler.  It’s no the dog’s toy or prey item.   And a lot of times when I see people reward the dog, they reward the dog with the toy and the dog will alone with the toy, chewing on a ball or a tug getting self gratification with it and that’s where the fun actually ends when the handler doesn’t interact with the toy.

The second thing I see is that the dog’s don’t know how to let go or relinquish the toy.  The third problem that I see is that the dog has no predictability of understanding how or where the toy is going to be produced in conjunction with the handler’s body.  So you’ll see a lot of displacement behaviors happening.  Handler’s getting bit in the chest, jackets being ripped and stuff like that.  There are often lots of impulse control problems that go along with this.



Q: What are the obstacles for many trainers to the successful use of prey/toys?

A: One of the things I don’t see enough of when I’m helping people is some type of predictable game or play session with the dog- something that happens where those other three problems can be avoided or worked through.  It’s just a random swinging of toys around and the dog can’t predict where it’s going to come from, how it’s going to get it or the fact that it belongs to the handler and that it’s an item that is interacted with through the handler.

So I try to tell people that with the dog’s foundation training, where we’re doing all this very interesting operant foundation work with behaviors such as The Spin and Get In for heeling, but one piece that they’re missing is how we play with the dog.  They’re so focused on this other stuff, they don’t have any type of play session or play predictability or any type of anything as far as the toy is concerned.  

So as training proceeds, we can’t inject the toy into training until there is some kind of predictable play session as far as logistics go with the toy.


Q: How do you begin?

A: I like to start with a simple game of fetch.  The dog offers a behavior you like and you moment mark it and throw the toy.  Of course the dog has to understand to bring the toy back.  Well bring it back to where?  Bring it back to 3 feet in front of me and drop it?  Bring it back and slam into me?  Run off with it?  So it’s important that the dog can understand where to bring it back to.  I like my dogs to bring it back to me through the legs.  We create this habit through the food toss discussed in DVD 1 Learning to Learn.

The behavior of out, tight turn and back is the precursor to how we are going to play toy.  That’s a precursor to the game of fetch which itself will be a reward to the dog.  When I give the dog the ball, I don’t want the dog to just lay down and chew it, I want to reward him with a game of fetch.  Will talk more about this in a bit in terms of how to structure fetch, strengthen cooperation and build trust in with prey DVD 2.


Q: What’s next?

A: I play a game that I just refer to as two balls.  It’s similar to what people have seen before but I don’t want people to mistake it for bribery or to get the dog to come back to you.  We are going to address the out elsewhere so the second toy shouldn’t be used to entice the dog.  We’ll take the logistics of the food toss game and do it with a ball.

I toss the ball and once the dog has acquired it, I will stimulate the dog with the second ball and encourage him back, I need a tight turn in the backend when they pick up the first ball.  The habit in the food toss is critical here.  Then just as we lured with food in the food toss, we’re going to lure with the ball to come back and as the dog reaches us, we’re going to toss that second ball between our legs and click that moment.  Even though we’re doing a toy transfer, the out is separate and worked on separately with a tug.


To be continued….


04Feb2014

How will 2014 be for you?

With 2013 in the books, winter in full swing and crazy cold temperatures everywhere, it's time to consider and plan for 2014.  What are your goals?  Aspirations?  Have you already scrapped your New Years' Resolution?  Personally we think about losing a bit of weight, eating better, spending more time with friends, saving a bit of money for something special or even giving up a vice that's not healthy.  Where our dog training is concerned we think about a faster sit in motion, a smoother jump or transition between obstacles, a more straight finish, a cleaner hold of the dumbbell, more attentive heeling or getting the title we've been chasing, but consider less how our mental state impacts our training.

Nearly 10 months ago, I joined a CrossFit affiliate in Columbia, MO, CrossFit Fringe. You may or may not have heard about CrossFit but it's "constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity".  In short, it's an intense workout that focuses on strength and conditioning for everyday tasks.  It's not just weight lifting or cardio, but a combination, often using just body weight to elicit a positive neural adaptation.  Huh?  What's this have to do with dog training or a blog on the Canine Training Systems website?  Interesting you should ask.  It took a little time to circle around to it myself.  After barely being able to finish the free Saturday morning workout last April, I realized I needed to make a change.

I started IPO (Schutzhund) way back in 1989 with a Rotweiller pup, then worked GSD's and then got involved with police K9 training, earth work with terriers and have been involved with dogs back and forth between venues of some type in one way or another ever since.  I have lots of shiny production trophies made of expensive plastic and metal for video production and have seen some amazing dog work.  Really.  Cool. Stuff.  The bulk of my time with my own dogs (maybe like yours) has been spent in consideration of training, the fitness and capabilities of my dogs, a training/conditioning plan for moving forward and how to best achieve my next short term goal.  Little dedicated time and attention was consciously given to my mental and physical preparation; MY physical conditioning and MY mental approach to the work.

So little in fact that in my 40's I'm paying a relatively heavy physical price.  I've compression fractured and herniated discs catching dogs, have arthritis in both thumbs, a surgical repair for torn labrum and rotator cuff in my catching arm, have a bulge at T10/11 and facet sydrome here and there along with arthritis in both knees.  I am currently having some tingling/numbness down my left arm into my thumb when I sit too long.  Gotta get that checked out soon.  I caught a fair few dogs and played hard- I regret none of it.  I wish I'd been in a bit better shape though!

A Tough Mudder later, I realize all this working out has pushed me to where I am.  Where am I?  Hmmmmm.  I'm mentally stronger.  I'm also physically fit but more importantly, I'm looking at things differently.  It took me really pushing my body to see where my mind was at.  I'm happier, healthier and feel more complete.  I'm better for my work, family, dogs and my outlook is bright and resolute.  It's really quite bizarre to think that my mental game hasn't been 100% all this time.  It's been a culmination of things for me.  My food, exercise and attention to detail.  Details.  Anyone that reads this may think what a useless blog post, he's slipped, why post this.  Point being, what role does your mental game play in YOUR training, YOUR everyday, YOUR outlook.  Are you achieving your goals?  Goals?  How do you face difficulty, failure, accept success?  What details are pertinent to you to make you best at your game?  It's about the details.  What we do daily, reward and reinforce.  The baby steps toward success.  Approximations to finished behaviors.  What routines and behaviors are you filling your days with?

We consider all of the aspects of character, temperament, drive, endurance and trainability we want in our dogs and do our best to isolate, shape and strengthen what we can to get optimal performance through good training.  It's why we do this- it's fun for us and our dogs.  What are you bringing or, more importantly, NOT bringing to the training equation?  Beyond the relationship and sense of teamwork we gain through working with animals, your ability to be sharp, orderly, track progression and identify the moments we want to reward are what training is about.  You need to be in the moment.  The more that you are, the more precisely your ability to isolate behaviors is.  If you're not 100%, your training won't be.  Consider what it would take to get there and stay there.  What would you need to do today, tomorrow and by the weekend?  Is 2014 your year?  What are your goals for 2014? 2015?  Beyond?  For you and your training, family, career and future?  With your dog, you're half of the picture, are you the best half you can be?

 

 


17Dec2013

CTS Christmas Shipping Dates

Posted by Doug Calhoun

Important Ship Dates for Christmas Delivery

UPS- United Parcel Service

For Christmas arrival using UPS-

UPS Ground by Tuesday December 17

UPS 3 Day by Wednessday December 18.   

UPS 2 Day by Thursday December 19.   

UPS Overnight by Friday or Saturday December 20-21.    

Orders placed on Saturday and Sunday the 20th and 21st will ship on Monday the 23rd, but are not guaranteed to deliver by Tuesday December 24th 2013.  

USPS- United States Postal Service

For estimated arrival by Christmas-

First Class Mail by Friday December 20

Priority Mail by Saturday December 21

Priority Mail Express by Monday December 23

Merry Christmas, everyone! ~Canine Training Systems


11Oct2013

The Importance of Engagement in Dog Training

The Importance of Engagement in Dog Training
By Doug Calhoun

Through an interview with technical expert and World Team Participant, Dave Kroyer, I was able to speak on the topic of engagement and what that meant to him in his dog-training career. He not only shared his insights on this topic, but also gave some great advice on puppy training in order to maintain engagement.

What is engagement and why is it so important in dog training?

Originally the term was not conceptualized for dog training, but in our context the most applicable standard definition of engagement is emotional involvement or commitment.

Kroyer has his own slightly modified definition of engagement: “Actively participating in training.”

This concept of getting the dog to actively participate in training is the cornerstone of Kroyer’s training technique and has yielded him with great success over his career.

Being invested in training, the process, and the relationship of interaction and response from the handler is critical.  Initially, it’s a natural process for dogs but not remaining engaged is quickly learned as the environment becomes more interesting and rewarding.

What happens when a dog is not engaged?

For beginning pet, performance and sport dog trainers, a common problem is that their dog is completely disengaged.

This can be the dog being far away from the handler or leaving the handler to go explore their surroundings; basically a very distracted or disinterested dog. And this kind of behavior leads to unproductive training sessions where much time is spent trying to create an interest in interaction with the trainer.

“For me I have to have a dog actively participating, which means completely focused on me. The dog is in a two to three foot perimeter of my body, envision a circle around my body,” Kroyer explained. “And the dog could be doing a number of different things, but not leaving me, not distracted and not disinterested.”

With engaged, even if Kroyer trains a dog for three to five minutes at a time, he is getting the most bang for his buck. Once the dog is actively participating, there is a point where the dog is actually pushing the handler. This intended outcome is what is desired during every training session.

“I have a young little puppy that I’m working with that will theoretically engage with me as I walk around and produce pushing behaviors, which would be jumping on me or circles me and barks at me. And that is without giving him any food reinforcement or primary reward like that,” said Kroyer.

Having the social reward be the primary concern for the dog makes food or a toy the icing on the cake.

How is puppy engagement different?

“When you take a puppy from the mother, at six or seven weeks, they’re still pretty emotionally attached to the mother,” explained Kroyer.

And because of this it is important for the handler to take the place of the mother immediately. Everything that the dog needs to survive is then provided by the trainer and blocked from outside sources, so that the trainer’s role in the puppy’s life cannot be confused.

In order to do this, Kroyer uses ‘deprivation training’ to his advantage.

Contrary to the negative connotation, deprivation training really boils down to the trainer supplying all of the dogs needs and preventing the dog from getting those resources from somewhere else.

For example, because the trainer is unable to stay with the dog all of the time, a consistent schedule is set up for the dog for interaction, feeding, play and socialization. This schedule ensures that the puppies do not overly engage in self-play, or have another dog or person entertain them when the trainer cannot provide these resources.

So ‘deprivation training’ is simply controlling the environment for the puppy.

This training makes it possible for a puppy to be fully engaged and excited to interact during training.
 
Kroyer also advises to “keep sessions with young dogs fairly short, because they mentally have to grow to have longer sessions.”

He believes that it is more effective and reasonable to build over time so that the puppy leaves the training session wanting more the next time. Kroyer recommends starting a puppy with three to five minutes of active participation training.

Kroyer’s example of short training session success is of an elderly client who wanted to train her dog in obedience. She had severe arthritis so she could only stand for a minute or two at a time. But when the dog went into the ring to compete he looked unbelievable. This example illustrated that the woman who trained in short engaged sessions could still produce great results.   The dog’s mental attitude toward training was intense and powerful.

What is the difference between one-way and two-way engagement?

Two-way engagement means the trainer is running around with a toy, and basically cheerleading the dog to stay engaged with the trainer. This is a huge problem to Kroyer because while the dog is excited to be there, the basis of the interaction is the toy.

“What I would like to see out of the dog, within the first week or two of training, is one-way engagement, which means theoretically I could be neutral in a training session and the dog is pushing me to show it something or get a reward,” said Kroyer.

It is important to sometimes start with two-way engagement and very quickly wean away from it to develop one-way engagement. This way, instead of begging the dog to work with the trainer the opposite will occur

In the beginning it is also important to find a productive behavior that has an emotional pairing with it. Although biting and jumping are engagement behaviors, they are not necessarily productive. Kroyer suggests barking.

Barking is one of the first things Kroyer teaches his puppies.  Because puppies or untrained dogs really have no behaviors to offer for reward, barking allows an outlet for frustration and energy and sets a baseline for a behavior-reward relationship.

What are the benefits of engagement in competing?

You can have genetically superior dogs, but if they are not engaged, they are not going to be able to compete to the best of their ability.

The first thing Kroyer wants the dog to do is, “look at me and show interest or excitability about what we’re about to do. If I have the dog’s attention then I can get a lot done and have productive training.”

Any kind of performance dog will have to enter what is ultimately a stressful environment, like a competition ring with in unpredictable conditions, and the goal of training is to turn the whole idea for the dog around. Instead of training the dog to do something, the dog should want to do something.

The dog at this level of engagement is in charge of his own future. And a dog that is excited to be in the ring competing will handle stress much better than the other dogs, fall back on his foundation and give more sound, joyful performances.

Kroyer has also found that dogs trained in this manner have the longevity of their performance career greatly extended.

Engagement can be seen as very beneficial to the dog’s overall behavior and performance, as Kroyer has found out. Check out his sneak preview.

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11Oct2013

Advice for a New Generation of Dog Trainers

Dave Kroyer, nine-time World Championship Team member, is concerned about what he sees in the new generation of dog trainers. Fortunately for the future trainers of the world (and their dogs) he has some advice to offer them.

What the New Generation is Missing

The lack of drive in many sport dogs is especially concerning to Kroyer, who spends a majority of his training on his dogs’ high level of drive and engagement. He believes that these changes have incurred because of the influx over the last eight years of demanding more correctness out of the dog.

Kroyer posits that this increasingly intensified focus on correctness is resulting in “a lot of dull, lackluster training…and they’re missing a whole piece of history of working in drive and animated type of work and showing power in heeling.”

Trainers in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s were heavily focusing on drive, and not as much on correctness. For Kroyer, learning the correct drive state from these trainers is irreplaceable, and even if Kroyer is trying to make correct training he will never lose sight of the correct drive state. Kroyer does this by implementing what he calls, “play predictability.”

Play predictability begins before working on absolute correctness and the assignment of cues or verbal commands to behaviors. Kroyer describes play predictability as the dog predicting that play (food presentation initially) can and will happen.

Without this essential part of training, dogs are checking out. “They’re trying to get some way to correct behavior before rewarding and playing with the dog, which leads to flat, lackluster type of heeling,” explained Kroyer.

The Importance of Heeling

“Heeling starts with training on the dogs agenda, which means at specific times of the day we’re going to train, …and repeat day after day week after week until the dog recognizes that he’s about to go have fun at that time,” said Kroyer.

This mental preparation then conditions the high level of expectation and play predictability desired. Heeling is also significant in Kroyer’s training method, because he uses it as a default behavior.

“The heeling is going to be taught in between my legs with food in one hand, for an extended time. Once I can go forward, backwards and lateral with the dog between my legs, and that’s for food, then I’m going to incorporate a toy and remove my hand,” said Kroyer.

Since in-between-the-legs is not a heel position, this allows Kroyer to continue to lure the behavior without the negative consequences of extended luring in heeling.

The heel position, against a wall, is a static position for the dog. This should also be fun and rewarding for the dog because it is very detailed work, advised Kroyer.  The position is shaped and a high desire to be in the position is critical for dynamic heeling.

When these two behaviors come together, they create the full heeling behavior.

Kroyer has also positioned his heeling as a default behavior because that’s where most people have their dogs fall apart, especially in stressful situations. A default behavior is something that the dog can revert to in a stressful time.  If heeling is a position of high reward and drive, when things become challenging this is where he’ll want to be.  This is a good thing!

Kroyer describes how strong this behavior is with this example:

“It’s not uncommon that when I walk into my operant chamber, where I have a wall and a mirror set up, and I start heading for the wall that my dogs will normally go and throw themselves up against the wall while I’m still ten feet away.”

This powerful behavior shows that the dogs are engaged and want to be there.

Kroyer’s Advice

“There is something to be gained for the new generation to study the older trainers. The DVD’s in Canine Training Systems product library are important for understanding how to achieve these things.  We can all make correct obedience, but the real art is making it correct, in drive and the dog is actually collecting its body and being an active participant in the heeling instead of a follower,” stated Kroyer.


07Aug2013

The Dave Kroyer Interview Series: Foundation Training for Success

Phone Interview with CTS President, Doug Calhoun, and Dave Kroyer.

Q: One of the notable characteristics of your training method or approach is in foundation work and training on the dog’s agenda.  Can you explain what that means and why it’s so important to your system?

A: Sure, it’s a common question and problematic for a lot of people.  There are some really basic things I believe are critical in the very beginning that set the stage and create a platform for life long learning.  Because the road to a competitive level of work is so long, it’s really important that the dog in invested in training and participates in learning.  It’s a real pet peeve to see people cheerleading a dog into showing interest in work and the dog eventually comes to rely on it as a part of the routine.

I like to begin working with dogs as young as 7 weeks on their agenda.  I control access to everything they need and develop a relationship surrounding play, feeding and social interaction.  I think it’s important to socialize dogs but I structure interactions around a consistent schedule to create predictability for the dog.  I want him to expect what’s coming at a certain time, to become conditioned to it.  I’m present during all of these times feeding, playing and structuring events so that outcomes will benefit our relationship and learning.

Q:  What type of predictability do you want to condition?

A: I want the dog to know that when I come to get him and place him in a “staging area” like a kennel or trailer, that the very next thing that will happen is full of positive experiences.  I try to condition this from the beginning around times that the dog will need to be interacted with- when feeding, playing or just going for a walk.  Over time, this very basic procedure will become powerful in the dog’s mind.  His drive and energy will peak and I use this to my advantage.  I use his energy and interest in this time with me to begin shaping behaviors with his rations of food and at separate times play as well.  

Q: Why is this approach so critical from a young age?

A: Dogs establish patterns of behavior and it’s easier to direct things in the direction you want from the beginning than it is to modify behaviors later.  I see a lot of dogs at seminars that know many behaviors in the hands of clever trainers.  I often see dogs that fall away from an interest in work when things get difficult.  I’ve seen some very well bred pups that show tremendous aptitude for sport work with great drives, character and stability.  Seeing them periodically over time, I’ve seen them become independent with less engagement than I’d like to reach their potential.  A few simple daily structural changes would make a huge difference.

It’s important to remember that when you’re the administrator of food, playtime and exercise, really anything the dog needs, you become very important.  Rewarding interactions directed toward you strengthens them and they’ll occur more often.  This is the basis of long-term training and really critical for any type of performance sport.

We’ll continue our talk with Dave here with a series of talks we’ve already had.  Coming next is a look at Dave's unique approach to Nose Work.  It’s easy to follow the blog as a feed by signing up to get the RSS feed to the right.  It will come directly to your inbox and you won't miss an installment.


30Jul2013

Trailer Summary for Obedience Without Conflict with Ivan Balabanov Video 1: Clear Communication

Posted by Doug Calhoun

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Based on clicker training principles, the Balabanov method relies on voice signals instead of a mechanical device. Trainer Ivan Balabanov has had great success with his method, including winning the 2005, 2006 and 2007 AWDF Championships, the 2007 FMBB World Championships and 2007 FCI All Breeds World Championship. The central goal of the Balabanov method is to break each obedient skill down to its most essential concept and then teach the dog a full and explicit understanding of this concept. Clarity of communication between handler and dog is essential in this method of training, which requires a structure of rules and system of signals. To learn more about these signals and the structure required for success check out the trailer and DVD.


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