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Great Advice From Open Handlers

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I just wanted to give a shout out to the experienced sheepdog handlers who give helpful advice in the Facebook group "To Novice and Beyond". Even though the type of training is different (stock work rather than obedience or agility), some of the advice translates well. For example, there is a discussion about the tone in which one communicates to their dog, and how we need to watch that our commands--what we are asking of our dogs--do not come off as corrections. That really hit home for me as I realized in horror that I often (not always but still!) make that very mistake. Of course, many of you positive trainers have been keeping things upbeat all along, but that Facebook discussion really got me to seriously critique my own manner and tone. I think I will be a better handler for it.

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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.

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