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Going to my first clinic next weekend, and Im wondering if anyone has any helpful hints and suggestions as to how I can get the most out of the experience for my dog and myself. What to expect? And if theres anything I should bring that would be handy or helpful.

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Hi Darci,

I'm actually going to send out a flyer that will give you some useful tips (I'll be shamelessly stealing from Becca's flyer from last year). The main thing is to be prepared to watch the other people's dogs and don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. Jack is great about answering them. Often folks will start socializing and end up ignoring everything except when it's their time on the field, and it's unfortunate because you can learn *way more* by watching the clinician with *all* the dogs and asking questions about the stuff you see, since even things that don't apply to you and your dog(s) right now might come up later, and then you'll already have a tool to deal with it. When you're working with the clinician, you tend to be extremely focused on the immediate problem you're working on, so by paying attention to everything else, you're much more likely to *see* more because you won't be so absorbed in the "me and my dog" thing. That would be my biggest tip. If you're more the type of person who needs to go over things "after the fact" then consider taking notes.

 

Oh, another biggie: People often get caught in the trap of thinking they need to "do well" in front of the clinician and spectators. This is not a trial and no one is judging you. You're there to work on training issues, and if you and your dog were perfect, then you likely wouldn't be there in the first place. So don't worry about your and your dog's "performance" in front of the clinician. Frankly, it's when things don't go quite right and problems rear their head that he will most be able to help you.

 

Otherwise, bring a chair; warm, comfortable clothing, including rain gear if it looks like rain--the standard stuff you'd bring to a trial. I haven't seen the long-range forecast, but I will have the house open for people to go in and warm up.

 

I'm sure others will pipe in as well.

 

J.

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Well ten-day forecasts around here are about as useful as sand to a Bedouin, but the one at Intellicast says a bit of icky weather Friday and Sunday both, but nice on Saturday. What usually happens is the wet stuff generally moves one or two days one way or the other, if it happens at all, so that's actually a good sign!

 

On the first day Jack will ask what you want to work on with your dog, after the introductions. Then he will most likely work on something totally different, but which will actually make your dog better than you expected (not to mention fix the problem you came with)! I just say this to prepare people, because I knew someone who got really offended because in her mind Jack completely dissed her by doing this.

 

Jack doesn't teach by saying "Do x-y-z to get the desired result." He explains his underlying philosohy on the first day. Then he will ask you to do your thing, then correct what you do to match his approach. He does a lot of showing, but this is less helpful because many times (and this is true of any clinic), what he's doing at that exact moment may not be applicable as the dog learns, and comes up with new stuff that needs to be dealt with.

 

I've been going to these clinics for many years, and have finally learned that what I personally get out of them is the head knowledge. I rarely come away with a real game plan, because I don't mesh well with the above style of learning (I really, really need someone to say, "Do x-y-z to get the desired result"). I also get to see my dog at his worst, and then work his way through it to his best - that's an amazing experience.

 

But, years down the road now I work with someone who gives me the "Do x-y-z" tools I need, and a lot of what Jack has said over and over is coming back and clicking into place. It's pretty cool. This is true to some extent of other clinics and private lessons I've taken (even an Aussie clinic I helped organize, and didn't even run a dog in). If you listen carefully to everything, you'll be able to use a lot of it at some point down the road.

 

Edited to add: Watch for the Clinic Theme. It usually happens that he majority of dogs, or handlers that appear in the weekend will fall into some theme. I have no idea how this happens (I've seen it during group lessons, also), but it's a wonderful thing because you see and hear the same thing over and over.

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Jack doesn't teach by saying "Do x-y-z to get the desired result." He explains his underlying philosohy on the first day. Then he will ask you to do your thing, then correct what you do to match his approach. He does a lot of showing, but this is less helpful because many times (and this is true of any clinic), what he's doing at that exact moment may not be applicable as the dog learns, and comes up with new stuff that needs to be dealt with.

I have a slightly different viewpoint on this. Jack has specifically told me "do this to get this." Lark stopping short on her outrun comes to mind at the clinic at Stacy and Peter's in 2006. Another would be when I had Kat in the clinic to work on shedding. I do think Jack's approach is a little more intuitive, but I've also found that if I'm just not getting what he's doing to correct a problem I can keep asking questions and he has the patience to keep answering till I *do* get it! :rolleyes:

 

This time around I won't have a specific problem I want to work on (like shedding or stopping short on the OR)--instead I will be looking for his approach to training the drive, and especially inside flanks and how to calm a youngster so you can get those flanks when everything's exciting (i.e., the sheep want to run). That's a pretty tall order, and I don't expect the pups will be experts when we're done, but I hope to get enough from watching Jack work them in such a situation to be able to replicate his approach when he's not around. And I think it's a problem that everyone faces when starting a dog, so it should be useful for everyone.

 

J.

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I will be looking for his approach to training the drive, and especially inside flanks and how to calm a youngster so you can get those flanks when everything's exciting (i.e., the sheep want to run). That's a pretty tall order, and I don't expect the pups will be experts when we're done, but I hope to get enough from watching Jack work them in such a situation to be able to replicate his approach when he's not around. And I think it's a problem that everyone faces when starting a dog, so it should be useful for everyone.

 

J.

 

Good. :D Faith and I aren't at that point yet - I guess I mostly want to find out how I can get her to realize I still occupy space on the same planet with her once she sees sheep :rolleyes: - but I'm glad you will have young dogs there so I can watch and learn.

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There will be two (or three?) "off breeds" at this clinic, too, and it's always fun to see him adjust what he does to suit them.

 

Don't forget, Julie, for me "do x-y-z" literally means, "Put your foot here, walk there, raise your arm two inches." Not, give her a bit of pressure there, stop your dog, etc. I've got to know exactly how to stop my dog. I am the horror of clinicians and instructors everywhere.

 

On Monday someone brought his dog over to see how he'd react to sheep. His dog was Aussie and a bit of Border collie and maybe some Catahoula too. After two sessions and probably a total of ten minutes working this dog, it suddenly occurred to me that he wanted nothing to do with body pressure, and reacted really nicely to verbal cues. Anyone else would have probably started with verbal guidance first anyway, but if not they would have tried something new in the first ten seconds.

 

I'm like that - I have only a hammer in my tool chest and when the problem's not a nail, I get stymied. Someone's got to tell me to apply the screwdriver. Jack tends to say, "Remove that screw." What? There's little ridges holding it into the wall! This hammer isn't working! Most people can look at the little slot on the top of the screw and infer there must be another tool that they need. I just stand there like a stupid with my hammer and feel defeated.

 

The fact that someone like me still has epiphany experiences at these clinics, speaks volumes of Jack's ability as a teacher (and patience!). And he's just magic with the dogs, of course. I can't WAIT to see what he does with Ted - Ted's right at the point where he will benefit the most from what Jack has to offer. Or we may get demoted to the round pen, who knows?

 

ETA: Sally, there's at least two dogs just starting out, so don't worry about being at the "bottom of the class"! :rolleyes:

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Sally, there's at least two dogs just starting out, so don't worry about being at the "bottom of the class"! :D

 

Yaay. :D Anybody I know?

 

Actually, I'm not worried about being at the bottom of the class, as long as we're not expelled from school! :rolleyes:

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I suspected you wouldn't be worried, but I thought it would be nice to know. No, these are non-Border Collie people, friends from my flyball and frisbee days.

 

as long as we're not expelled from school!

 

I have never exactly seen this happen, but once I was at a clinic where Jack simply suggested to the person that she was wasting her time. Not because her dog was bad (he was not too bad, really), but because the owner had a major attitude problem. That is one thing you should never bring to any clinic - anything other than a learning attitude!

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Oh Becca, I forgot about your "gift"! :D I just didn't want poor Darci thinking she wasn't going to get any help at all!

 

Sally, there will be at least four other dogs starting in the round pen. Then there are others of us who could get "demoted" as Becca mentioned at any time! There will be quite a few young dogs, even if not in the round pen: Becc'a Ted, my Pip and Phoebe (and maybe Lark), and Laura's Nick, all around 18 months old. The fellow with the Aussies has a dog that's a year old (and an 8 y.o., but both just starting). Edie Overly has one a year old, and Ben Sherrod has one that's a year and a half. A fellow called me the other night about entering, and he's got a young dog as well (and has cattle but no sheep, so will be looking for the very basics). In fact, we may have our theme already: dealing with youngsters! It's going to be great. :D

 

Of course no one can get demoted to the round pen if I don't hurry up and get it built! :rolleyes:

 

J.

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And then there's me and "Bree" better known around here as the "little Heifer" she just turned 2 and I think her name could be "pushy b****" :rolleyes: She doesn't like to quit, won't hold for another dog, has temper tantrums when others are on the field.....

 

She and I have plenty to work on, more so me as I am a visual person, show me and I can emulate and learn, tell me and I am lost. Which brings me to ask; Julie, can we video our dogs or is this taboo?

 

Karen

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I can jump in and answer - no videoing. But, I've used the multiple shots feature on my camera to get a sense of the flow of what's going on later on. But, I might do that just for a very short time because otherwise I'm thinking about the camera and not what's going on in the here and now. It does no good to carefully record what's going on, and then only pay attention to it later when you don't have Jack in front of you to aks questions.

 

If you are visual the best advice I can give is to watch him work your dog when it happens, and watch carefully when he works the other dogs, and start looking for patterns. That's true of any clinic if you are a visual learner.

 

I'll be the one raising my hand going, "Um, when you put your foot there instead of there, was that what made the dog do that?" and then I'll get the crook over the head for using the phrase "made the dog . . ."

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I'll be the one raising my hand going, "Um, when you put your foot there instead of there, was that what made the dog do that?" and then I'll get the crook over the head for using the phrase "made the dog . . ."

I certainly won't ever forget the chastising I got for making Lark complete her outrun and land where I wanted her to by moving myself around instead of just telling her when she was wrong and letting her figure out what was right! Picture Jack with his lovely Scots accent saying, "You're making the dog and not letting her learn and figure out the right! Ack! :rolleyes:

 

J.

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By the way, to first timers, Jack doesn't yell unless it's someone like me who's been a long-time groupie, someone who thinks they know better, or like the above example Julie mentioned (which I actually remember :rolleyes: ), it's getting on in the clinic and he's been saying kind of the same thing for a while.

 

He's very nice, really. :D

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I'll never forget him chasing Patti Kallen with the crook after about the billionth time of her doing exactly what he had just reminded her not to do (pushing into her dog to try and get her to widen). It was so funny--we all saw it coming (even Patti, who couldn't help herself) and had a good laugh. That was the first of Jack's clinics that I ever attended, and despite the bad weather, I had a blast!

 

J.

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I'm gonna miss her this year. She's such a good sport. I'm not humorous when I'm way off, just painful to watch.

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Often folks will start socializing and end up ignoring everything except when it's their time on the field, and it's unfortunate because you can learn *way more* by watching the clinician

 

Gregarious by nature, and a bit ADHD myself, my husband has a great way to keep me focused when I start jabbering and it helps me get back on track. He just says "Duck Tape" Which basically means shut your pie hole and listen. It'll help me if you remember that one.

 

Oh, another biggie: People often get caught in the trap of thinking they need to "do well

 

Yep, that would be me.

 

Otherwise, bring a chair

 

Thanks, I always forget my chair. Course, thats proven to not be such a bad thing at ball games, as Im always already standing, so I catch the most pop flys!

 

This is not a trial and no one is judging you. So don't worry about your and your dog's "performance" in front of the clinician

 

And the neon sign to remind me of this, will it be closer to the round pen, or out in the big field?

 

I am the horror of clinicians and instructors everywhere

 

I may run ya a close second

 

I am a visual person, show me and I can emulate and learn, tell me and I am lost

 

I can relate to that, ( probably because most of the time Im talking and dont hear,) but show me and I can remember what it looked like.

 

poor Darci

 

Was that you leaning over my shoulder at the bank yesterday!?

 

Of course no one can get demoted to the round pen if I don't hurry up and get it built

 

Gonna go ahead and work Saturday, See ya Sunday. Whats a good time?

 

Thanks Gals for all the info. It has helped to prepare me, and I look forward to the flyer too. Im putting together a check list, for my self,

and my dog. This morning, I remembered some thing I needed to write on it, and my husband, little twit that he is, has written for me in big red letters on the very top. DONT FORGET THE DOG! ( he's lucky he'd already left for work when I found that, but hey, he's gotta come home some time!) Multi taskers, get so many things done all at once, but its inevitable, and he knows me well...something always gets left out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, another biggie: People often get caught in the trap of thinking they need to "do well" in front of the clinician and spectators.

 

*hangs head in shame* I'm over it now (mostly) but this was a real problem for me at my first clinic. We got demoted (and rightfully so, in retrospect) to the roundpen after our first session... you know, the one where my dog didn't cover the sheep and they ran away as she followed with her tail in the air. :rolleyes: I was practically in tears, and I'm not sure how much I absorbed that clinic. Ok, truthfully I was in tears, but anyway. On the other hand, I'd worked a dog a grand total of like 5 times when I went to that clinic, so in my defense I was an Uuber Noob. :D

 

Point being - don't be surprised if your dog breaks out something that surprises you at the clinic, and just hang tight because it's a great opportunity to learn how to fix it. I am SO looking forward to this clinic.

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You all are going to have a ton of fun! Jack comes at it with a consistent philosophy, and it is pretty awesome to see it work. Best wishes for good weather. :rolleyes:

 

(This is from the unambiguously bottom-of-the-classer from December at Anna's!)

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Julie, I'll never forget that cold weather, brrrrrr. It was my first Jack Knox clinic as well and when he chased me with the crook it was *really* funny. But, last year was funnier still. Do you all remember when I was working the infamous red dawg, Sophie, and she would not lie down for Jack? Next thing I know he takes off with a growl at her and I can see her eyes light up: "Oh, THAT game. I just LOVE that game". And, with that she took off. I took off after Jack shouting to him to stop running. Meanwhile, he's running after her, I'm running after him, and, Sophie is in heaven. TWO people chasing her. Whoopie. Games *really* on! I finally caught up to Jack and grabbed his coat. I thought the two of us were going to have a coronary, lol. I said when I could breathe, Sophie likes this game. If you don't stop she won't stop, lol. Well, after we all managed to stop, we called her and gave her a tap on the noggin' for her trouble. OMG, that was so freaking funny. I'm going to miss being there this year. Bummer. Have fun, and, someone needs to take up the slack for the most humorous since we won't be there to entertain you all. Oh, and miracle of miracles, I finally learned to NOT go after Sophie to widen her outrun.

 

Patti

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I'll never forget him chasing Patti Kallen with the crook after about the billionth time of her doing exactly what he had just reminded her not to do (pushing into her dog to try and get her to widen). It was so funny--we all saw it coming (even Patti, who couldn't help herself) and had a good laugh

 

Oh How I wish I could be there.

My version of that would be when I would leeeeean into the dog when asking for a stop. By the second day when I was still doing it he grabbed the hood on my hoodie and yanked me backwards. I was shocked but giggled cause I knew I needed it. That was the ticket that I needed cause I finallly learned not to lean in (so much :rolleyes:)

Jack's my favorite clinican along with Kathy. Jack is so good for the dogs, you can't believe that's your dog he's working. Kathy actually teaches "me" a bit more than the dog.

I live semi-close to them, they have a fall and spring clinic at a close neighbors. Lots of times it's Jack's clinic but sometimes Kathy takes the over flow. One time I made the mistake of asking if I could have Jack on one day and Kathy on the next. Jack gave me hell for trying to flip flop in one weekend. I ended up picking Kathy just to make Jack sneer....I love them both dearly.

 

Good luck Darci!

Everything everyone said is so true about not trying to impress anyone and just letting the good the bad and the ugly teach you way more than a pat on the back with a good job could ever do. I think the best advise is the listen while others are taking their turn. I learn more then than when I'm in with my own dog.

The hint to keep my mouth shut is Band-Aid. Compliments of Kathy's good friend who travels alot with her to clinics. Duct tape would be way to obvious!!

 

Jack really does take it easy on the newbies unless you show him you can roll with the punches you're safe! :D If he teases you right away, I think it's a sign he really likes you! Guess it could mean he likes your dog but either way it's good thing!

 

And what ever you do...go to dinner on Sat. night no matter how tired you are. Jack is the best story teller and you'll get an ear full!

 

Enjoy

Kristen

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Patti,

I'm sorry you won't be here too. You and Jack together are such a hoot! Maybe you'll make it next year, because of course now everyone else is going to want to see the two of you in action (with Sophie of course).

 

We got the round pen built today (a MIGHTY HUGE THANK YOU to Laura, Sandy, Jimmy, Tony, Mary, Becca, Patrick, PJ, and Joey--it wouldn't have gotten done without all the wonderful help!) and tried it out with some of the "round pen sheep" in it and I think it's going to be great. Sheep will be dewormed as needed tomorrow and hoof trimmed as needed.

 

The bad news is that apparently it's supposed to rain--A LOT--the latter half of next week. I will be putting straw down on the worst areas so hopefully we won't be too muddy. This is one time I'd rather not have rain, but just in case be sure y'all bring your rain gear!

 

J.

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Here in Michigan, several years ago, we had a string of two to three Jack clinics per year for 6 or 7 years. We all got to know him very well. One thing for a clinic newbee to read is an excellent article from Nancy Hebb posted on the wisconsin web site. She pretty much covers everything. Go here

 

http://www.wwsda.org/Hebb.html

 

and read. As others have said, don't be afraid to show your dog's dirty laundry. This is the place to get help with issues, not to get praise. Besides... Jack hardly ever praises.... quite an obsticle for clicker trainers! That is usually most of the fun of a clinic, watching the frustration build for people who are used to praise, suddenly being allowed to work things out and 'correct themselves'. Jack trains people just like he trains dogs. Correct the wrongs, and let them figure out the rights! Enjoy yourselves, one and all. Julie....make sure you tell Jack I say HI!!! :D:rolleyes::D Marilyn Terpstra

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