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Root Beer

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  1. What are our "treats" - you name it. At home when I train, I usually use bits of kibble. At the training building, I use chicken that I break up into teeny tiny pieces. In the past I have used: meatball, cheese, bits of any leftover cooked meat I may have available I never use commercially prepared "treats" for training, mainly because they tend to be expensive and I feel that plain meat is healthier. But I know a lot of people who use Zukes and Charlie Bears and things of that nature. Fresh Pet, which is a moist food that comes in a bag, and is in nice little bits, is very popular right now. I have found that Bandit sometimes gets an upset stomach after eating Fresh Pet, so I don't use it anymore, but it is very popular. Maybe you didn't want to know, but now you do!!
  2. You know, I was just thinking yesterday about how remarkable it is that dogs, who do not speak, and likely do not think of us by name are SO adept at understanding and interpreting our words. They actually put effort into doing so. It's not that I didn't know it before, it just really struck me in a new and meaningful way.
  3. I wouldn't say I experienced a lot of issues with my former puppy, Bandit, but things did get . . . interesting when he hit adolescence. It makes sense - new chemicals in the brain, everything developing. He went through a stage where he turned into a Beagle and did NOTHING but sniff. We took those stages in stride and he came out on the other side better than ever. I don't know about girls, though. I have only raised boy puppies.
  4. Dean was getting quite upset that I was taking Tessa and Bandit out constantly and he was never going. I started taking him out on his own outings and it helped. He went along with me to teach, I took him swimming, even let him go on a few car rides (although I can't do that much in the summer if I want to stop anywhere). It helped a lot. Now he is doing a lot better and is starting to do things in his own right again. He's much happier. But those extra trips just for him made a really big difference.
  5. My dogs will sometimes get confused between nose touches and paw touches to targets, especially when I use my hands but this can happen with target objects, as well. When one of them offers a nose touch instead of a paw, or a paw instead of a nose, I just wait and let the dog work it out.
  6. Rally FrEe is great, but I would caution most people to take care not to get too hung up on the whole verbal cue/lack of body language aspect of it. Honestly, I was finding that Rally FrEe was starting to suck the fun right out of my training. I recently had a great Freestyle experience that reminded me of why I fell in love with this sport to begin with and I made the decision to make my Freestyle training a lot less technical. I am still working on Rally FrEe with Bandit, but I am not putting as much emphasis on the technical side of it. I am going to use body language that is natural for him. Nothing wrong with working on verbal cues, but Freestyle proper is about a lot more than cue style.
  7. I was fortunate. When I first got started I had a class available to me, and I was part of that class for several years. Now I am an independent Freestyler, but it is definitely helpful to have someone to work with when you are getting started. That said - those who title in the art and sport of Freestyle tend to hold very passionate opinions on how Freestyle should be done. You want to find someone to work with who matches your style. No. And I would actually advise against getting hooked up with any particular organization unless you want to look into titling. And then you will want to find the organization that fits you best - they are all distinct from one another. WCFO puts a lot of emphasis on costumes and glitz. They are the organization that currently has the most opportunity for participation in live events in he US right now. They do want handler dancing, although they just started a new skit division which would not require handler dancing. If you work with someone from WCFO, a lot of emphasis will be placed on verbal cues and the dog working behind you because those things are important at the upper levels in that venue. WCFO events are a lot of fun. I only participate in WCFO through live events, not video. CFF is a highly secretive organization. You can't even access a lot of their information unless you join. They are the ones who operate as you describe below - no handler walking to the beat, etc. There are people who are quite dedicated to it. My favorite Freestyle organization is the Dogs Can Dance Challenge. Currently it is mainly a video venue (although I have participated in two live events). The DCD Challenge is the best kept secret in Freestyle!! The focus is on showcasing the dog, but you can have fun and move, too! Less emphasis on costumes and props, although you can have some fun with them in the Entertainment division. I don't know a lot about MDSA. A newer one, RFE, is all about verbal cues and not using your hands. Some people are quite passionate about that. You can put all the bounce in your steps that you want!! It's YOUR art that you are creating with YOUR dog!! Well, I have an online Freestyle school and I teach Freestyle classes through that medium. I usually only run them over the summer, but if there were people interested, I might be willing to offer my Intro class free of charge to anyone interested in getting started . . . . with an emphasis on having fun with it.
  8. I do a lot of heeling. I adore heelwork. Speedy and I would go out on the floor and just move together through a whole song, with only a few twirls or transitions. But I actually don't start Freestyle by training precise positions. I teach basic moves, and I work with my dog on movement. The movement can be however the dog wants. We work on precision later. I do that for two reasons. First, I just don't want this to be too technical. That's not me. Second, I want my dog's natural style to be part of our heelwork, and I need to get a read on how the dog enjoys moving before decide exactly how I am going to approach position training. So, those who are just getting started in this - there is so much choice!! If tricks are more your thing, run with that!! If movement is more your thing, you can do gorgeous performances without all that many tricks at all.
  9. Ellwood!! I put this together for you, although it is something I can now share with anyone who asks the question. I have compiled a video that shows most of the basic "steps" that most Freestylers train their dogs to do. These are clips from my own work with my own dogs (Speedy, Dean Dog, Tessa, and Bandit). You will see in the video that I am using a lot of physical cues - my venue of preference is one that allows that, although I do take part in two verbal venues, as well. All of these can be done without physical cues - except leg weaves, which do require movement of the leg. The only thing in here that isn't "standard" is the Distance Spiral. That was Speedy's own specialty. But I included it because it actually is something pretty easy to teach. If you start off teaching some of these skills (along with movement, such as heeling), you will be off to a good start!! None of them are "required" - these are just common. Enjoy!! And I hope this helps.
  10. That is great advice. Actually, that is something that I ran into when I was taking an online Agility class. We were working one jump exercises and the dog needed to start off in a stay. I didn't quite trust Bandit's stay and it was coming through in the tone of my cue. It was coming out in the tone, "you better stay because I don't want my videos to look bad!!" The instructor told me to make sure my stay cue sounded more inviting/neutral. I actually had to come up with a bit of a mental strategy for this. When I cued "stay", I pretended in my mind that I was saying "twirl". It worked like a dream!! I have been a lot more aware of my cue tones since then.
  11. Here is the thing about Freestyle - you will get as many responses as to how it should be done as you will find people who do Freestyle!! Most who really get into Freestyle get involved with one of the titling venues. These venues have different rules and missions and they want different criteria!! For instance, I have been involved with this discipline since 2006 and I have never once calculated the bpm of my dog's gait!! I am also not really into training super-complex tricks. I like to focus on Freestyle more as a dance and it is really about expression and enjoyment for me. And I like to do stuff that is "dancy" even though I am actually not a trained dancer. So, what one instructor presents as the way to start isn't necessarily the best way for every team!! That said, there are some commonalities in Freestyle, regardless of what "brand" one is interested in. Freestyle consists of: 1. The dog knowing "moves" that can be incorporated into routines. With the exception of one Freestyle venue, there are no compulsory moves. However, there are many moves that the vast majority of Freestylers teach. The "basic steps", as the OP referenced. Some of these are: spins (clockwise and counter clockwise), leg weaves, dog circles handler, dog backing up, dog moving laterally, bow, pivots, paw lifts/touches, and "fancy" moves like standing on hind legs (if appropriate for the dog) 2. Movement. A handler could put on music, stand in one place, and cue 20 tricks, but that would not really be Freestyle. In a Freestyle performance, the team moves artistically through the performance space. This might be in the format of a dance, or the performance might tell a story, but the team is in motion throughout the routine. This can be achieved through: heeling (on the right or left), dog moving in front of the handler, (in some titling venues) dog moving behind the handler, backing up, lateral movement, moving leg weaves, sends 3. Transitions. The dog needs to move from one side of the handler to the other, and in Freestyle it is best to do this in a seamless and logical way. Transition moves are not necessarily readily apparent to the audience, but without them, the performance would be choppy. Some transitions are: switches, leg weaves, transitions off of spins, pivots, dog circling handler, etc. 4. Music. Freestyle is choreographed to music. Music is always incorporated into Freestyle performances in some way. 5. Choreographed movement. When you have experience, you can improv. But usually, and most especially when one first starts, moves, movements, and transitions are choreographed in a way that goes along with the music. Choreography includes: Moves included in the routine, movements included, floor patterns in the performance area, sequencing of moves/movements, "matching" the moves/movements to the music (ex. pauses where the music stops, changes of pace where music changes), dynamics, making the whole thing interesting, making the whole thing work for hte individual dog. These are common elements. Different venues want different cue styles. Different venues want different amounts and types of technical moves. Different venues allow/require the dog to work on different numbers of sides of the handler. BUT - if you are just starting to get into Freestyle and you just want to have fun with it with your dog, you are not bound by titling venue rules!! So, don't worry about cue styles. Don't worry about technicalities. Just be safe, start putting movement together to music, and have fun!! OK, more questions!! Specific ones!! I am actually thinking about putting together some blogs/videos on this topic. A lot of people ask these questions.
  12. And just for fun . . . this is a bit of passing the torch.
  13. Hmmmmm . . . .may I ask you (or anyone who wants to chime in) this? What, literally, is the first thing you want to know?
  14. The concept of pivoting into position (on the disc) finally clicked for Bandit this evening!!
  15. You might want to check this site out. You will find all kinds of info on clicker training and teaching some basic dance (freestyle) behaviors. http://pamsdogtraining.com/video-list/
  16. Tessa's turn!! We didn't do Training Level - went right to Novice!! This will be my first Novice submission.
  17. Thanks!! The conference was awesome!! He just fell in love with all of it!!
  18. Thought some of you might enjoy seeing where Bandit is at with his dancing!! This is an edited version of our performance from the Dogs Can Dance Challenge live event this past Saturday. The parts edited out are the parts where my handling just disintegrated!! This is unpolished at this point. We entered the "Audition Class" which an exhibition class (except we get comments from the judges - WOOT!!). No points are awarded in this class, so there is no restriction on food use. I am looking forward to getting this completed and polished up with completed training for Bandit and correct use of my arms!!
  19. At this point, my only plans for Bandit are CPE and NADAC. There is no table at all in NADAC, and in CPE it only shows up at the end of some of the games, and all the dog has to do is put one single foot on it. So, sending him to it to put four paws on it is perfectly fine. That's what Tessa does. I do like for my dog to get on it and "plant" there. I don't want to teach him to run across it. So, if "table" means - put four paws on and pause . . . that is perfect!! I think it will be fine, but if it isn't, I'll just have to give Bandit a new table cue. No big. P.S. He got his Training Level Title!! On to Novice!!
  20. I know. I am going to have to differentiate. I usually use my hand to indicate - high above him for the two on and more parallel to the surface for four. But I really do need to come up with something that means "Four paws on", and keep "Up up" for just two. I was thinking about calling anything I want him to put four paws on "Table".
  21. And now Bandit is caught up to my others!! His clips that I submitted for his Training Level title. Dean did earn his!!
  22. I don't think it matters! You are part of this board. Truth be told, I don't think Tessa is a Border Collie. I think she is an English Shepherd. But I talk about her here, same as my Border Collies. And I would LOVE more Freestyle talk here!!
  23. I would recommend: "The Power of Positive Dog Training" - Pat Miller "Beyond the Backyard" - Denise Fenzi And: "Plenty in Life is Free" - Kathy Sdao
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