Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Siliva Trkman Seminar

  1. I went to a Silvia Trkman seminar this past weekend in Raleigh-Durham, NC. If you want to read some other bloggers post on her seminar, go to "blogs I read" on the side of this blog. "Johann the Dog" and "Its a Spring Thing" wrote very nice post on Silvia's seminar in February. Silvia must be traveling the county.

    I'm just going to talk about things I felt were interesting because the other two blogs I mentioned above will give you great information and are well written. One thing I noticed, since I was auditing, was that people didn't reward their dogs in the right spot. I'm not judging them because I'm not perfect either. I just think it is something we all need to think about. I would watch a dog do a part of the course that they struggled with. They would run the same sequence of 4-5 obstacle over and over. On the 4 time, the dog got it right and they just kept going. Sometimes they gave a small yes, but it wasn't enough for the dog to understand he did it right and that was what you wanted. The other thing I noticed was that most people do a 2 on/ 2 off but it didn't appear to be anymore successful then a running contact. (in my opinion) Many times they had to put the dog back on or run the contact again to have the dog do it right. Also some of the courses seemed really hard, like a tunnel that was curved and you came to the back of it and couldn't seen the entrance. The dog still made it into the entrance without a problem. So maybe the dogs can do more that we think. (or more than I think)
    Now about Silvia. (now remember this is what I heard and people don't always hear the same thing) She only runs her dog on the agility course for about 1-2 minutes 2-3 times a week. She feels that your dog can not run full speed for a 10 minute training session or 20 minute session. The dog learns that he is going to be running for a long time so he doesn't give it his all in order to conserve his energy. She only wants her dog running full speed. For most of us this probably is unthinkable. But she does run her dogs in the woods for 2 hours everyday. While in the woods she is practicing with them. But she doesn't call it practice. She has them jumping logs, doing turns around trees with crosses and other agility things but she is just not on the agility field. She is also making her dogs fit for agility. I don't know if it was the trick training or the running through the woods, but La's running contact on the A-frame was awesome. It looked like the dog was floating on air as she went up and over. It looked effortless.
    I went to the night lectures on puppy training and trick training. It felt like it was freezing while we sat outside. My feet were like ice. But when I got to my car, it said it was 50 degrees outside. I know I sound wimpy, but what can I say. This is the south and we are not tough. Anyway, she uses all her tricks to build up rear end awareness and strenght. She keeps the jumps low for a very long time. Her dogs and dogs she trains have never had jumping problems or problems dropping bars. She does no jump chutes either. It was funny to hear her talk about training methods she used with her dogs because someone told her to. And then how she feels that messed the dog up. Her older Pyrenees Shepherd was very scared of people . She she wanted to socialize him. She took him different places and had people feed him. She felt like this caused him more stress. ( I wonder if that's because she was rewarding the stressing behavior when she thought she was rewarding the positive interaction) So she stopped doing that. She decided that she just wanted him to be relaxed in different places. She felt like the dog started getting better when he felt it was ok to ignore the people. So her definition of socialization is to have to dog feel comfortable in as many places as possible. He doesn't need to socialize with people or other dogs. ( different from what we think socialization means) With La she did most of her trick training with luring. She feels this made La a fast runner on course but she can never think on course. Her border collie , she used all shaping techniques to do trick because luring at the time was "bad" . She feels this made the BC a thinker and he thinks to much on course to run fast. She also lets her puppies go on the agility course with her older dogs and run after them while the are running the course (as long as it is safe). Well people told her that she shouldn't let her border collie do this because it will make him herd the other dog and she wont be able to break that. So she didn't let run with the other dogs. She also feels this was a mistake and has made the border collie slow.
    That's all I can think of right now.


Johann The Dog said...

My Mum was soooo guilty of not rewarding me often enough. Duh!!!! Good insight - good info! You picked up some key stuff that we didn't hear about!

Thanks for posting it!

Woofs, Johann

manymuddypaws said...

Thanks for posting that review! Sylvia must be doing a lot of seminars lately- a friend of mine went to one in Ohio a few weeks ago!
It's great that you noticed people not rewarding enough- it makes you notice yourself more too!

I think many people fall into that pattern, it is easy to keep working and not stop and reward. - as an instructor we see that alot!

Sounds like you got a lot of great stuff out of it.

Jules said...

The rewarding comment spoke to me, too! I am guilty of this at times.

My friend recently attended one of Sylvia's seminars and really enjoyed it. I need to go spend more time on her web site since I already missed her swing through New England!

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

Thanks for the plug! :) I'm glad you enjoyed my blog post.

Yes, I totally agree that we do NOT reward our dogs enough on course. My first instructor made me very conscious of this and it's amazing to watch people in class ignore solid obstacle performances, tough discriminations, etc. I try to run all of my courses with a clicker in hand and I *always* have plenty of cookies. Silvia commented on that at the seminar. :)

Simba said...

Your post was quite informative! I'm a regular at Johann's blog, and got your link from his site. I'm an agility newbie..so I'm absorbing as much info as possible! I'm definitely taking on a lot of Silvia's philosophies on training! Just wish she was coming to Canada for her seminars!