Asked about special requirements and training for canine-performance training, Dawn says, “The same foundation skills that any dog and handler team needs are also needed for performance training.” These skills include giving attention to the handler, offering behavior, understanding how to respond to cues, and learning how to settle. “These are essential skills for any higher-level training.”
Dawn discovered platform training through Michele Pouliot
, finding it a source of useful applications for gundog training—as well as for other areas of performance training. “The platform is very helpful when I am training dogs to remain in place when other stuff is going on around them – flushing and flying birds, shooting and movement of hunters, and more.” When Dawn once presented a weekend seminar to a dog-training club, she demonstrated shaping a dog to get on to a platform. “I used one of the attendees’ dogs (an adult male Vizsla), and was able to shape going to and standing on the platform after a few minutes work with clicker and treats.” Later, Dawn found out that previously the dog had developed an aversion to platforms after training with a shock collar!
Keeping her hand in science education, Dawn teaches biology part-time at a local community college. “I use R+ in my classes and labs. I also use R+ for myself to reinforce doing tasks I might otherwise avoid, like housecleaning,” admits Dawn.
Since completing the DTP program, Dawn has also completed the KPA Puppy Start Right for Instructors
course. “I plan to take the Shelter Training and Enrichment
and the Better Veterinary Visits
courses in the future.” Of course, Dawn looks forward to ClickerExpo each year!
Dawn now takes a positive approach to all aspects of her learning and her life. “For any new skill that I want to learn, I try a ‘clickery’ (or is it ‘clickerly?’) approach.” Recently, Dawn has taken up target archery. She uses an instruction book that employs clicker training principles without saying so explicitly (Beginner’s Guide to Traditional Archery by Brian J. Sorrells). “I look for positive reinforcement training in many other areas, especially in sports, and find that the lessons always have applications to my work in dog training.”