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Saturday, March 9 2019

Good Dog Training Newsletter - February - March 2019

Training at the Club

The heat of the summer has got to most of us and made training a bit of a chore. We have tried some Friday Obedience sessions at the Reeme Road Reserve in Ngongotaha and have had Tuesday's in the shade of the trees on the other side of the park but still there is the unavoidable need to work in the sun on Thursdays and Saturdays.

To all those brave souls who have trained through this sweaty burning weather. Thank you for your perseverance.

Tuesday night’s Sprints are not possible for the dogs with these temperatures so I decided to turn the time into a motivation and play course. This has been incredibly successful. All the dogs are working so much better for their games and treats when they have to find them in the bucket themselves instead of being handed stuff by us. Improvement in their work is noticeable in Benni Bobbie Pansy Koda Jilly. and Millie. So we will continue along this road until the nights get cooler.

Thursday nights is Deb and I working on our dogs with other members pitching up to get some coaching on the course work we are blitzing. So what happens is that Benni and Pansy's work becomes the work for the night and I coach it as I want it done by our dogs. We are concentrating on Cavaletti and extending the amount of work and concentration our dogs can cope with. We are making sure their jump height work is in place. Congratulations to Megan and Bobbie on progress with their lovely jump style. I am going to be so proud of this team when they are ready to hit the competition circuit. As Megan said recently ' Dog Training is hard work'. That's a fact isn't it? We also do weave work. I have discovered that the hardest thing about getting a new dog and handler team weaving is teaching them a rhythm to work with. Pam and Jack are making progress which is really exciting. Jack is ready to be a Jumpers Dog any time now. Most of our newer dogs are smalls, so poor old Bobbie is the only tall kid in the group and he copes so well. Jumping for the small dogs is so much easier than jumping for the 600s (maxi’s). We had also been learning contacts but most of the issues our new dogs face are really making corners work, listening to their handlers on the courses, call offs and sendaways so this is the work we are increasingly doing.

Friday night starts out as a Control Class works through Obedience in the ring including retrieves and then we finish off with some Rally O. Absolutely super class with a cutie little Papillion called Wolfy who has joined us recently and man has he got style and sass. Dogs and handlers who are improving immensely are Megan and Jilly, Diana and Billy, Blair and little Zag. I would like to see more of us entered in Obedience Shows during this year. It is a super sport to be involved in. Along with Rally O. We also have Anne and Liz Proctor coming to give us a prod next week and check on our Rally O progress.

Saturday is the perennial Control Class at 9.30. A new Play to learn Section from 10.15 till 11a.m. Followed by an extension of Thursday Coaching to reinforce the learning we have been doing. Sometimes we have Ann and Gemma and Bill and Minnie and it is great to see them. Sue with Molly (with the new haircut) and Floyd sometimes join us too. It is an open class and everyone is welcome to have a go.

If the weather is not too hot and everyone has enough oomph left we do some Flygility about 12 noon. At 1p.m. I do assessments of new dogs. We have huge enquiries at the moment and need to integrate 8 new dogs to classes where they will succeed. This week I am assessing a fast Jack Russell and a lovely gentle 4 month old German Shepherd pup that I have visited at home. He is just delightful.

I am pleased with the quality of the dogs and the determination of their handlers. Keep up the good work and enjoy the new experiences your dog is bringing you.

Raewyn Saville Trainer

Building a better club

Dog Sports Rotorua needs to make itself into a secure Dog Training and Social Club that welcomes anyone who has an interest in dogs in any capacity. We are going to end up in a situation soon where we have a shed full of gear, 7 day availability to use it or use the grounds for training and nobody actually taking advantage of the opportunity.

For the last ten years I have run the Agility Classes, the Beginner behavior classes and the Obedience Classes and as I have browbeaten everyone with over a long period, the day must come when I cannot do that anymore.

I would dearly love club members to come forward and offer to be the coordinator of an area of Dog Training that they really enjoy. We have a Sprints division, a Flygility Group, an Agility Group, an Obedience Group and a Rally O group. I have also said before that the coordinator does not need to be an Instructor, nor do they need to be an expert at that Sport. All they need are organisational skills to set up times for those interested in doing more of the dog sport they are keen on and progressing that sport within the club. Setting goals for achievement within the Club and in National Competition. Making sure that incentive Trophies etc are available for their group

Last year we were turned down by Dogs NZ to be a Recognised Group. We have never been told why. We have never even been given the opportunity to answer any questions the National Body may have about our group. Several senior Agility Members have suggested that DogsNZ have no right to deny us Recognition as a Legitimate Dog Training Group who have now been in operation nearly 15 years 12 of which as an Incorporated Society.

However, some Senior Dogs NZ members have also suggested that not being tied to DogsNZ might be more of a blessing than a curse. From my own experience that is in fact true. For example we don't have to give up any of our hard earned fundraising to Dogs NZ each year simply to say we belong to them and we do not have the Agility and Obedience Committees leaning on us to run expensive shows which they take a cut of, and in the case of Obedience by the time ribbons are purchased it runs at a loss, which has to be made up somewhere else. The pressures that come with the territory are quite extreme and result in it being difficult to get people to volunteer onto the Committee as the workload becomes a burden. It has long been a fact that the Agility Division of DogsNZ carries the Breed Shows and the Obedience financially and has only a small amount of influence within the Organisation.

Dog Sports has never had a problem maintaining a hard working Committee. We have also never had a problem getting our members to volunteer to fund raise or do any of the regular Club tasks.

We are affiliated to The New Zealand Flygility Dog Association, which is a small sport without huge demands placed on its members. It is also very reasonable to belong to for our members and it is cheap to run Tournaments, just $10 per day to the Association.

Which brings us to the funding of our Club. Since the day the Club was formed the Subscription for the year has been $30. We have reduced the Membership fee to $20 for those who need to join another Club in order to be DogsNZ members. We have an Executive Membership for people who have been in the Club for a period of time and after approval by the Committee pay $180 and receive a key to the Gear Shed so they can train whenever they want. I happily pay an Executive Membership and with the approval of the Committee I hold ‘private’ lessons on the grounds. These private lessons bring in the new members that the Club needs in order to maintain the steady growth it has enjoyed for a long time now.

I am also a Life Member. Life Members don't normally pay subscriptions. It is a recognition of the input that people have to the Club which has been above the call of duty. It is an honor to be a Life Member. We currently have three. Myself, Chris Hutchings and Bill Brislen. Last year we lost two life members (just as an aside) Caroline Mear and Nick Milsum.

I really believe that at the upcoming Annual General Meeting of the Club we investigate the need to change our membership criteria and take a close look at our subscription system. I also believe we should have a tiered system which recognises what people within the club have achieved. Should the Executive, Club Captain, Vice Captain, Secretary, Treasurer pay subs. They are donating their time and making a major contribution, without which we would not meet the criteria of the Incorporated Societies Act.

As a starting point I would say that the longer you are a member and the more official involvement you have with the Club, the less subs you pay. Now that's an innovative thought isn't it? The people who benefit from those doing the organising are the new people coming in from the bottom. To me they need to be paying more for an Open Membership enabling them to access training in any of our groups.

Bearing in mind they are no longer going to be paying training fees to me. Let's assume that the new people stay with us for a year and they are currently paying $2 (rent) per class to the club and $5 per class to me and let’s assume they come twice a week. It is costing them $14 per week for say 40 weeks of the year plus a subscription of $30. That is a total of $590 per annum. So there is no way you can say that people can't afford it because they are already paying it. So what if the annual subscription for new people for unlimited access to training groups, was $300. Then 10 of those memberships pays our rent for the year. Wow, who is gonna pay that sort of money, so maybe we need to make it kinder and do a monthly fee of $40.00 which when taken to twelve months costs $480. Or some other kind of fee system which obviously makes it advantageous to pay the $300.00. Maybe year 2 is a 5% saving and year 3 10% saving or something that works along those lines.

I believe if we are careful and maximise our marketing and collect the right sorts of people the Club can flourish in a very much more exciting way than the models we have to look at are those run by DogsNZ which seem for the greatest part to self destruct.

I for one am absolutely fed up with training people with beautiful dogs for two weeks and they disappear. Or worse they come for six months and are making huge progress and then you never see them again. We don't want those kind of dog trainers. We need the people who want to turn their dog training into a hobby that gives their dog a great quality of life, has good social outcomes for the handler and gives opportunity for its members to upskill and become educated around their Dog Handling.

The above would be my ideal club to belong to. I hope to belong to Dog Sports for the rest of my days which are growing increasingly less as the years roll by.

All current subs must be paid up by the 31st March. Nothing can change the way those subs operate right now. Any decision making around this subject which is minuted at the AGM would take affect the following 31st March due date.

I know this is the boring down side of Club Life, but I truly believe we have an opportunity to revolutionise the way we run Dog Sports and make it into a very desirable Club to belong to.


Raewyn Saville Club Trainer.

Sunday, November 18 2018

Good Dog Training Newsletter - November /December 2018

Christmas is coming….

Well the Christmas dekkies are in the Mall so that must mean that once again the crazy season has arrived. It has been a busy year and the Club has gone on growing and doing. The most exciting thing that happened for the club this year is the addition of Rally O to our Club Activities. We have added it in to our monthly Club Competition and are doing the Nala Courses . Most of us are getting a handle on it but it will be nice to have Ann and Liz Proctor back to give us some polish and remind us of what it is that we are supposed to be doing. Agility is going along just great, though we could be excused for thinking it is the Schnauzer club with 4 of them currently in training. More Schnauzers than collies in training. Our Fly Tournament is on the horizon again the 15th and 16th December so we will want all the help we can get for that weekend and would really appreciate some workers throughout the week leading up to the event to set up the grounds. Donations from now of non perishable quality goods for our raffle with 'of course' Christmas in mind. Check the new training schedules for summer and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at training throughout the holiday period.
So a very Happy Festive Season to all our Members and their loyal Doggies, Have Fun, Keep Safe, Smile.
from Raewyn (Trainer) and Debbie (Club Captain) Beckiboo, Fae, Chip, Pansy, Sophie and Benni.

Well we didn't get many newsletters out this last year but I hope for a New Years Resolution on the subject. I am lucky with the work I do with dogs. Most people who work with dogs in New Zealand are working with strays and waifs at Rescue agencies or the Local Pound. With the small exception of those working training dogs as pest controls, contraband finders and companion animals for the blind or disabled which is very positive, the work I do helps people and families adjust their lives to having a new pet in their household and helps dogs to enjoy their new quality of life.

A lot of people think that you enrol your dog at the local dog club and do a crash 8 week course and all will be sweet and loving. Nobody bothers to tell the new owners that 8 weeks is not gonna do it. To be fair most clubs offer an extension into Canine Good Citizen or Competition Rally O and Obedience, but most dog owners don't take up the offer.

Most of the people who end up at our club start out as private referrals to me. From the outset I tell people that 12 months is a good goal time to train their dog. That the reason I do this work at all is that I want dogs to have an opportunity to realise their potential and be able to use their brain. A dog's brain is almost the same size as ours in relation to body size. Dog's are capable of storing and recalling hundreds of bits of information. To relegate this intelligent creature to a lazy existence is just absolutely sinful so far as I am concerned. In any case if you do just leave the dog to rot in the back yard their frustration levels get so high they self mutilate, dig huge holes, chew their kennel down. If we were left in the same unstimulated environment we would do the same. Then there is the other alternative

One of my neighbors is very conscientious about cycling with their dog. I have no doubt she enjoys it, but with the dog tied to the bike panting it's heart out with stress and exhaustion, she is gonna have an injured dog who is gonna flatten her and the bike fairly soon. Why is cycle exercise so bad? Dogs are geared to 'go , stop' exercising. If you let a dog go on our club grounds, how far does he run. 50 meters then he stops and sniffs, another 20 meters etc. Unless they get a fright when they can go fast in one direction all right. That is called panic flight. If you force a dog to keep running in one direction tied to a cycle or tied to you running, then you are forcing a panic flight response and after a while the fear is so overwhelming that the dog make a bad mistake and chases a car or in the case of running with a tied dog, lurches out and bites someone coming the other way.

Dogs simply do not need this endless supply of exercise. It causes them extreme stress and creates the environment for joint injuries. Take your twelve month old dog for a one hour walk every two days.

The other bit of misinformation about dogs is that the best way to exercise it is to throw a tennis ball in one of those nifty throwers. Now the reason you are using this devise is that throwing the ball over and over gives you tennis elbow from doing the same action hour in hour out over and over day after day. What do you think it gives the poor dog. He drops the ball at your feet you socket it into the device you throw it the same distance he does the same run the same jump the same retrieve the same loopy return run over and over wearing all those exact same vertebrae and elbow and knee joints. Day after day year after year. It might take you three years but you will do permanent damage to your dogs body.

Change it throw three warm up long runs then just bounce the ball for some catches. Then roll the ball along the ground in all directions. The dog will start to try and see if it can guess what you are going to do and so start using his brain and his interaction capabilities. Anything but for goodness sake stop those long continuous ball throws. Frisbee is the same. But fortunately Frisbees for dogs have pretty much injured themselves out of existence. It cost so much to repair the dog's bodies the toy people stopped making the dog Frisbees.

It is similar to those who perceive that their dog needs doggy company and they send him to doggy day care. Yes correct dogs are pack animals. Their pack is a constant. By that I mean they are happiest when they know what the pack consists of and how it works. This is dog pack one. Human ma and pa only dog two cats . In the mornings the whole pack get fed. Pa pack member takes dog for fifteen minute morning run. Back home Ma and Pa pack members leave pack consists of two cats one dog for several hours and then there is the evening program . Dog pack two Human Ma or Pa and dog. Human pack member is home all day then some days they go out without dog, then other days they take dog in the car. There are all sorts of regular and irregular activities and dog gets very used to it and is happy with it's pack.

Dog pack 3 Human pack are away a lot so they take dog to Daycare. Daycare does not have the same dogs in it every time. Dogs are such parochial buggars that the energy spent getting to know a new dog, any new dog or three or four new dogs is mentally distressing. On top of that there will be aggression between dogs at some point, it is the nature of the beast. So if your dog is shaking as you drop him off at daycare it is not anticipation of anything good. It is fear of the unknown and that is the great issue for our family pet. Fear of the unknown creates that flight endorphin again and if it is enclosed by walls and can't get away from the fear, then the distress is immense. The worst possible outcome of stress is dreadful skin conditions and constant hair shedding, accompanied by tearing at the skin and hair.

People often say to me I can't understand why his skin conditions happen he is up to date with his flea treatment, I groom him he has no knots or anything. Then something is stressing your dog. If it is none of the above then the last one is the awful one, it is that your dog has pain. He isn't limping but he isn't that happy either. He isn't as fast off the couch as he used to be and he is only 3 years old. Everyday when you run your hands over your dogs body (and you do don't you) you should know every hump and hollow of that body. If suddenly he grabs your hand when it is in one place or cries suddenly when you touch his foot or gives a warning growl when you are near a particular limb then that dog is in pain. If you know where it is coming from go straight to the vet. Stop all exercise. Put your dog in his kennel or crate. Take him out for toilet and short lead exercise. Get x-rays and along with pain relief and other drug treatments from the vet, go to a very reputable physio, or chiropractor .

Sort all your dog's stresses and your dog will be very happy with his pack no matter what it consists of, as long as it has the same nice things with mental stimulation through games and training and a little bit of quiet gentle walking, then your dog will give you many years of cheap loyal service. However if you end up stressing your dog with some particular activity that causes repeat hyperactivity, then he will be a very expensive pet to own.

The above is what I tell every single person I train. Bores them to tears. It's amazing I manage to make it exciting enough for them to learn dog games. Because if the handlers are not careful they turn the wonderful joyous dog games we teach into competitive combative exercises that stress not just the dog but everyone around them as well. I do find that most dogs have the ability to be 'normal' their handlers , the human part of the pack equation, no normal at all.

Sunday, September 2 2018

Good Dog Training Newsletter - August / September 2018

The Good News from Raewyn!

  • Deb and Benni are on track with their Jumpers Career 1st win out of two in Jumpers C on his first Jumpers Champs outing. That's what I like to see.
  • Pam Sharp has caught the Agility bug. It has taken three years but finally she's got it. Jade is working really well and now Jack is getting the treatment and loving it. Pam has become a DOGSNZ Member
  • Tina and Koda and finally working off lead and Koda is less interested in the traffic on the road. They will go far these two. AND Tina is the greatest lawnmower at club. Thank you.
  • Sue and Floyd are working on their togetherness and sometimes it is almost good. We are going to make Flygility Floyds first sport at the moment. He loves to work alone.
  • Megan has taken over training for her pup Bobbi and he has a talent for Fly too.
  • Sharon and Gracie have joined Taupo Club to achieve Silver CGC and Sharon has become a DOGSNZ Member so they are coming to speed training on Wednesday nights to see if we can improve weaves and pace. It's working.
  • Christine Longton got so mad with me at Club Comp she made Storm do a round without dropping a single rail. I have a training method for Christine now. Just make her as mad as hell and her work with her dog improves out of sight. :-)
  • Alex has agreed to co ordinate the Rally O group for the Summer. Fantastic thank you Alex.
  • Katie and Cash are now out of Puppy at 12 months of age and are moving to Learners Agility in club Comp. Cash has the top Puppy Agility points for the year so far. Well done Katie.
  • Pipa is our fastest new Fly Mini. What a future she and Chris have in Fly.
  • Kelly and Awhi are back - baby needs bonding time with its Daddy. So Kelly had no choice but to come to class with Awhi to make that possible
  • Katrin has returned to Obedience with a new young rescue dog 'Snoopy'. Welcome back.
  • We had the pleasure of Anabella's company with Cairo at the last Club Comp. An ex Club Secretary who moved to Auckland a couple of years ago and is now back in rotorua maybe we will see more of her.
  • Its goodbye to Chloe and Jessie and their dogs Beaudie and Nadi. going to live on Waiheke Island. Fancy leaving us for Waiheke Island. Hard to understand really.

Have great training, enjoy your competitions and love your dog every day.


Sharon and Gracie
July Club Agility Day Winner

Report by Alex Jones on Mark Vette Workshop highlights/key notes:

Mark’s training and systems are based on genetic design, dog behaviour, neuroscience. His ‘training’ is based around gaining and maintaining a learning state, association, positive reinforcement, contrast training, counter conditioning and desensitisation. A wolf has 99.96% of the same genetic makeup of our domestic pariah dog, the 0.04% difference provides domestic dogs with:
Prolonged juvenile state (they remain immature, playful, able to learn and be a puppy for longer than that of a wolf because they can. Its no longer a necessity to grow up to survive)
A tolerance to unrelated dogs
Human orientation
Extended formative periods (1-4mth of age is prime time for learning)
Ability to cross foster (co-exist with stock/cats/kids/other animals without considering them prey)

The above points are used to elaborate on behaviours and mannerisms for training and learning behaviour throughout his techniques.

The formative period, this is the key time to:

Socialise and bond

Teach appropriate separation

Site specific bonding

Joining up/follow response
Learning state: (this was a primary part of the training) to learn how to recognise, switch into and maintain a dog in their learning state (Parasympathetic Arousal). When a dog is out of state and in Sympathetic arousal they are unable to learn and as such techniques are required to return to a state of PSA vs. SA

Dogs learn through association, counter conditioning and desensitisation, contrast training (pressure on/pressure off) and boundary setting. Corrections are made away from the handler so the handler remains viewed as a safety.

Building a shared language between dog and handler… Dogs are postural communicators using body language (BL) as a primary method of reading, reacting, communicating through life. A key takeaway from this is to reduce the amount of noise we make when communicating with our dogs and return to BL as a primary way of speaking to our canine friends.

We were fortunate enough to spend an entire day dealing with older pups/dogs that are outside of their formative period and displaying behavioural problems, something I learnt a lot from and hope to take back to my own work and that of my colleagues in the shelter environment, primarily this entailed:
Back to the den (re-establish crate training)
Joining up
Learning state (Parasympathetic arousal)
Balancing +ve reinforcement and contrast training
The importance of the initial meet and greet and steps to ensuring this goes well
Identifying trigger points and stacking behaviours
Key command was what is referred to as a “zen down” this is a modification on an obedience down where you are encouraging the dog to go into a down and then relax their hips to either side bringing both hindlegs resting on the same side of the dogs body. This position activates the vagus nervous system which encourages appetite, resulting in reduced stress behaviours, responsiveness to the clicker and establishing PSA, a clam state and therefore the ability to learn.

Tools of the trade: Lead, Clicker, treats, slip collar, clip station, crate.

I would highly recommend having a read of the book as this stuff is all in there, any questions please just ask.

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