5 December 2008

Susan Garrett's Puppy Camp, November 2008

I'm sure you're wondering what the heck happened to me & my dogs for the past 6 weeks? Well, lots; too much in fact which is why I didn't have time to update my blog.

At the end of November 2008, Diva and I were fortunate to attend a 3-day Puppy Camp at Susan Garrett's Say Yes training facility. This is the second time I've been. Two years ago I took Tyro when he was a puppy. The great thing about Susan's workshops is that she is always learning and passing on her new knowledge, experiences, and ideas to others. Although there was lots of information that was 'old hat' for me, it was still a good review and refresher. Much of her theory is based on operant conditioning and the work of Bill Bailey whose DVD's I bought a year ago from Clean Run. And Susan really emphasizes motivation and building a relationship with your dog. "Work is play and play is work." is one her well-known phrases that I have memorized to heart.

Of course, for Diva who wasn't quite 6 months of age, the workshop experience was all new. Much of the first day was spent in the classroom but days 2 and 3 were a lot of activity with handlers and their dogs. You'd think that 3 solid days would be enough time to cover everything, watch Susan demo, and practice lots but it wasn't. We really could have used 2 more days but since this camp is for puppies, the puppies were quite exhausted at the end of it, as were many humans. Nevertheless, I found it very energizing and worth while and was so glad I had the opportunity to attend. After training with Susan and her assistants, the one thing I will say is that it makes it impossible for me to go back to training with 'traditional' trainers but perhaps more about that in a future post.

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