Leading canines and their human partners to self driven excellence

Leading canines and their human partners to self driven excellence

To optimize team performance each partner must know, perform, and critique his own job. The dog must align his purpose with that of his trainer, the dog will drive his own excellence.

How to recognise this alignment

The human’s job will be task support, not criteriae maintenance
The dog will actively demonstrate self-correction (squidgee)

The dog will rehearse independently
The dog should question miscues or inappropriate cues
The dog MAY suggest innovations and/or improvements (crab)

Training is performance based on communication and motivation

We can enhance performance through enhancing communication and motivation

(no high value treats, toys or high drive states are used; no dogs were harmed in the formulation of these methods)

Tools and Practices


Many here use the term “markers” . I use the term “bridges” as coined by the reknowned behaviorist, Keller Breland. I use two types of bridges: Terminal and Intermediate; (TB and IB). TB signals success, IB signals ‘on the path to success. ‘ not a KGS, which is a recue

“Name & Explain”


  • assigned to activities, locations, events, individuals, items,
  • used to describe events as they occur, or are learned, to refer to past learning, to predict future events, and to give feedback

Mastery of timing and rhythm (trainer)

Appropriate, timely TB’s and IB’s (sound choice)
Modulated IB’s at the rate of almost 8 per second (inherently reinforcing)
Ability to track behavior in one eighth second increments (faster??)
Ability to use predictable and syncopated rhythm appropriately
Fluency in information delivery (inherently reinforcing) (Herbie)

Processing time for information and cues
“Talk to me!” for cues from dogs
Lub-dub to guide cue speed. (Send away demo)

Mastery of self management (both trainer and dog)

Trainer: ability to give appropriate, coherent, congruent, transparent, fluent input (rhino)

Dog: ability to maintain calm alertness and split focus between task and environment (including trainer) (Sascha)

Mastery of task

Use behavioral analysis to break behavior into parts
Teach and label each part (this is extremely important in case of break down)
Use ‘Cycles’ to expand dogs attention span/duration/tolerance
Combine parts and assign new label for the newly assembled behavior
Remind dog of parts, ask for new behavior
Give feedback and prompt dog where he hesitates

Collaboration in the team

Sharing of full information
Recognition of distractions and threats, by name
Gift of time to process – “Ready?”
Recognition, through rich feedback, of dog’s success

Trainers report back that upon using these tools they quickly experience a deepening of the partnership, a resolution of tension, decreased training time, improvement of performance