Stacy Winkler's Keen Dog Blog

Finding the fun in creating great dog agility behaviors




Did you ever stop and really take a look at how we often struggle when trying to learn something new? How about trying to retain something new? How about just trying to remember someone’s freakin’ name five seconds after it’s been given to you?😇

I know that when I’m learning something new, like settings on my camera, when I use it a bunch I’ll get the settings totally clear in my head. I mean seriously, I’ll have that sh**t down. Then I won’t use it for three weeks, and when I go to pick it up again I am like “How the heck do I make the blah, blah, blah, blah work again?? “ Sheesh. It sucks. But it happens all the time.

What about when you try to learn something as seemingly simple as footwork in a new agility maneuver? Ever feel clumsy? Inept? Or, as is the case of many, ( I know this being an agility instructor for around 15 years now) you need something repeated or demonstrated over and over and over and over and over again? Sure. Of course. Happens all the time. We forget stuff, need to be reminded, start over from the beginning. We may laugh at ourselves or just feel stupid🤪.E2047D3C-BEE2-42EB-B079-F98AF70EA758

Fact is, having a difficult time learning some new skills and remembering things is a constant challenge for most everyone. So this being the case, don’t you think it would be very fair indeed if we gave our dogs the same understanding and leeway we give ourselves? They are dogs after all.

While learning, dogs can grasp some physical or mental concepts very quickly while others will be like pulling teeth. Once again, just like us!

If you asked me to learn the dance steps to a country song, I would be a serious disaster. I’d be uncoordinated, forget the steps, it would take me forever. But if you asked me to learn the lyrics to a song? No problem. I’m on it! In the same vein, some dogs are extremely verbal, others not so much. My dog Keen was a superstar at verbals, but teaching him to turn tightly, not as easy. Some dogs are exactly the opposite, It’s not that they can’t learn the skills, it is just that they may have stronger aptitudes for grasping some aspects of training over others.

So…..don’t you think it would be very fair indeed if we gave our pups the same understanding and leeway that we give ourselves? We all have our strong suits and our weak ones. And remember, they are dogs🧐. So maybe they should be given a little more forgiveness, don’t ya think?

And as amazing as they are, and they are amazing creatures, we have such high expectations for how quickly they are supposed to learn, retain and reproduce behaviors that we often forget that they aren’t little machines with perfect mental recall. It is just amazing how quickly we can get frustrated, give up, get angry…. while training or at an agility trial. “ What the heck??? They know how to do that!!” is a commonly heard, oft repeated lament.

Don’t you think that if you step back a second and really consider the intricacies of what we expect our dogs to learn and perform and then ask ourselves if we have truly given them enough of an education in that behavior, i.e. understanding, reinforcement, review, generalization……. Is it really that far fetched to realize that they may not be clear about their job? Have questions or misunderstand our directions? Keeping in mind that it is entirely possible, although we may not have realized it, our directions may have been faulty or late? AND keeping in mind that while trying to disseminate and follow said directions and requirements, the dog is also running as hard as they can???

1FF13206-4CFF-4EBB-A388-42664AB10A18Ultimately it ain’t like we can sit them down and have a conversation about exactly how they are supposed to perform these skills. Well, I mean………many try…. but seriously…. THEY ARE DOGS. THEY DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH. I know, I know your pup is super smart. You’re right. Sorry😉.

Add to that, just like us, dogs may have good days and bad days. Sometimes my tummy may hurt and I may not feel like running a course, and sometimes their tummies hurt and they might not feel like running either. Difference is, when our goals for the weekend are on the line, we HAVE a choice whether to run with the tummy ache. Not trying to be an a**hole here because we may not know they are not feeling well. But whether we realize their physical state or not, it can definitely affect performance.

I wrote a blog awhile ago about the history of rewards and it’s applicable here so take a look if you haven’t read it or want to review it again. Understand that as much as we need concepts repeated many times over to get them cemented into our brains and bodies, so do the dogs. And since they are not intrinsically motivated to do these things, we also need to give them some very solid reasons to do as we ask. For most of us that means creating understanding and value for these behaviors through a reward-based system.

If you believe in the old adage that dogs do what is reinforcing to them, then that goes beyond what we personally need to create skills for ourselves into a whole other realm for dog training. We need to frequently revisit our dog’s skills not only for retention but also to continually build and reinforce excitement for the task. Regarding history of reward, most trainers don’t grasp how much value for behavior needs to be created and maintained to bring and keep these behaviors as fluency.

Lastly, some more food for thought. Before you judge your dog for failing a task at a trial, take a look at what you are practicing and be realistic. There are many that think that going to a weekly class or two is enough practice for you to teach your dog and maintain their skills. And that they should, by gum, be able to do their job at the show. Well I call bulls**t on that.

When I give a class, although the student is learning and reinforcing their skills in class, my hope is they will take the drills I give them and think of them as food for thought. Taking the skills they learned and practicing them when they are home.

As I am often heard to say, for example, “Yes, I can fix the issue you are having with your weave entry during class, but that will do nothing in terms of your dog’s overall understanding of the weaves.” Look at the big picture not the small one. Fixing an issue in the moment does not solve your dog’s lack of understanding. If you need to work through a skill in class because your dog is struggling, it means that you have work to do to create more understanding and value for the skill. One correct repetition won’t make the problem go away.2CAC98B7-E990-47D3-9F79-25BDC30DF6B3

Let’s not expect our dogs to be super human. Their struggles should be accepted and understood as easily as we accept our own. Rarely is anybody, no matter how skilled, flawless. Mistakes are made, there are struggles in learning as much as there are triumphs. If you can keep these things in perspective as you train and run your dog, I would be willing to bet that you will have more success in your training. And by not judging your dog and yourself when there are struggles you will both certainly have way more fun!!




Getting By Is Not Enough! You CAN Learn To Watch And Evaluate Your Dog’s Skills As You Sequence

cd_22755_414340_groovewinkler_a3173098_dlOne of the concepts that I feel many students struggle or don’t even think about, is being able to evaluate the success of their dog’s skills AS they work or run their dog.

Now I’m not talking about their ability to look at a skill in general and say:”Hey, awesome we made it through the drill! I am talking about REALLY looking at a skill, as the dog is performing it, and assessing its degree of success.

For instance if  I decel in front of a jump, front cross and run to the next jump, what should I be thinking at this point?
1) “———-” Nothing at all, or “Dear lord I think the next jump is to the left!!”
2) “Phew” “I think that was the right obstacle.”
3) “We are awesome, wheeeee let’s go!”
4) “We suck”
5)”Hmmmm that turn was a bit wide.”

If you guessed #5 you are the on the money.

Whenever I am running or working my dog I am assessing every bit of our performance. Yup, EVERY BIT!

In my last blog I talked about the necessity of having a “perfect picture” of what I want my behaviors and training session to look like before I begin training any skill. This concept is a complement to that. I need to know what the behavior I want looks like and then I want to make sure I am always observing each skill my dog does so I can make adjustments when need be to maximize the effectiveness of my training.

If you run your dog solely to get through the instructor’s sequence then you are ignoring what could make the difference between being just a decent agility competitor or being a truly great competitive team.

3 main roadblocks to accomplishing this are:
1) Belief that you will be able to do more than simply worry about where the heck you are supposed to go next.
2) Understanding what you are supposed to look for in the first place.
3) Knowing what the heck are you supposed to do about it if you don’t like it?

Ok so you have been doing agility for 3,5,7+ years and hopefully at this point you can say that you do have at least a pretty good grasp of how to handle your dog. Well, if this is so it is time to grab the reigns and take control rather than being dragged on the ground by the stirrup.


pupsblogI realize this can feel overwhelming and you will probably need the support of your instructor to help you out, but you can absolutely accomplish this. I believe in you even if you don’t. You can do it! It all starts with a single small step.

One of the things I always tell folks is that: “it is just as important not to over face you, the trainer, as it is to not over face your dog.” Over face basically means trying to do to much at one time, overloading yourself or giving yourself too much to deal with at once.

If we make things too complicated for ourselves we are more likely to quit. By breaking things into bite size pieces in the beginning it is much easier to create success. When we are able to create success then we are more likely to keep trying. The great news is that observing our dog’s behaviors and skills will eventually become second nature.
How do we do this you ask? Begin with a single behavior. One single jump with one turn.

Put your dog in a sit stay 12+’ behind a jump and lead out to about 1 1/2’ distance behind the jump, release your dog, front cross when your dog’s front feet leave the ground and turn the dog back in the direction of your sit stay. Make sure you keep your eyes on your dog as you front cross so you can assess the turn.

Before you attempt this make sure you know what the “Perfect Picture” of that turn should look like. You need to know what you want to see so you can judge what you do see. Makes sense huh? You can always go back and read my “Perfect Picture” blog for more information.

assesing-jump-performanceWell, what did you think? Was it : A thing of beauty? Totally sucked? Ummmm, sort of ok?
Did you like the turn but the dog came around the jump very slowly and didn’t power towards you?……..?

First of all, congratulate yourself because you, maybe for the first time, gave a sh**t about the quality of a turn.😀 YAY!! And so it begins.

The great take away here is that you made the process manageable because you are taking things one skill at a time. You are beginning to progress beyond just doing enough to get by, into being able to assess your dog’s performance and thereby improve your skills.
You can’t fix what’s broke if you don’t know which part is broke in the first place. Right?! So back to our first drill, if you didn’t like your dog’s turn in a sequence here are a couple of possibilities.

If you weren’t totally standing still it’s possible you were cueing acceleration towards the jump when you should have been cueing deceleration.This would result in a wide turn.
Your dog doesn’t understand how to turn well. A bad turn and slow speed around a turn is most likely caused by a lack of value and training specific goals for turns. How to create a great turn is a whole other blog 😀 but I am sure you can talk to your instructor and get some solutions.

Next let’s assess your dog’s performance on a contact behavior. Every time my dog completes a contact I am judging their performance. I never ignore this. I am always aware of what occurred as my dog performed the skill.

In order to asses this we have to go back to the concepts in my Perfect Picture Blog. If I don’t know what I want the skill to ultimately look like it is hard to judge performance. So make sure you have your perfect picture in your head before you begin.
Just do one contact to begin with to keep it simple. Set them 20’ back rev them up and let them fly!

cditem_a_m0u4654How was your dog’s speed?
Did they power across the apex?
Did they confidently drive into the 2 on 2 off position or were they hesitant or slow?
Did they run off the end rather than stop in position if 2on2 off is my criteria?

Did I pull them off?
Are they always random, so it was status quo?
Did they hold the end until released, or jump the gun?

If I made the contact a challenge such as sending to the contact and running laterally away to my next position, what did I think?

Often in my head I will quickly rate their performance, was it: Amazing!!, Great!, Good, Passable, Not So Much or That Sucked!

By rating the performance every time I can also make a decision whether to reward the behavior, go on with my sequence or stop and try it again.

As a drill, video the session and see if your on the spot assessment jibes with what you see in the video review.

Remember to make things manageable for yourself! Begin by assessing a single behavior and then move to short sequences and see if you can still assess each piece.

Quick Thoughts AGAIN On Connection

By learning to evaluate your behaviors as you run you have the added benefit of keeping a better connection with your dog on course. You can’t assess what kind of a turn your dog made at the last jump if you are not seeing them take it and finish the turn.The better your connection the clearer your directions will be to your dog. That is an awesome benefit!

If you are struggling with this, the culprit probably is that you are losing sight of your dog as you front cross. I mentioned this earlier in the article but it is important to reiterate. As I front cross while my feet step towards where I am going and my body moves through the cross, my head stays with my dog so that I am able to maintain eye contact.

Connect,Connect, Connect!

_p3a7667-2If you use blind crosses then you want to practice connecting back with your dog as quickly as you can. This way you will be able to see your dog’s performance and communicate your directions with more clarity.

Practice this behavior starting with just a single jump as well. Even this simple act will help improve your performance on course as you will be much more aware of your dog’s performance.

Have a blast focusing on these skills and make it part of what you do every time you run or a course or practice a sequence.

Have Fun Training!
Stacy Winkler


Find The Fun, Damn it!!

Here is the simplest piece of advice you will ever be given and yet it may be one of the more difficult concepts you try to implement.

In order to get the most out of training you need to find the fun! Simple, but complicated.

I am not talking about pasting a fake smile on your face, jumping around your dog trying to create a level of energy and excitement and/or raising the tone of your voice to pretend to sound happy. I mean really and truly embracing the training experience in a pure way so that you can find the joy in the experience of training your dog and watching him learn.


By embracing your dog’s learning process, leaving emotional judgement at the door and just working towards your training goal, everything will become easier for your dog. They will no longer feel your angst or anxiety when training is not progressing as you would like. You will be more relaxed which will allow your dog to relax into learning.

An earlier blog of mine discusses mirroring and its impact on training. These concepts are at work here. If you feel relaxed your dog will tend to mirror your relaxed state. If you are having fun, your dog will have fun. The opposite of that is also true of course, and that is what can royally screw up your training progress.

Whether we like it or not our dog is going to react to our emotions whether they are positive or negative. They are so good at this in fact that it is very difficult to fake them out. Try plastering a fabricated smile on your face, jump around like you’ve lost your mind or talk to your pup in a fake happy voice and see if that works. Doubt it! They just ain’t gonna buy it.

Look at your pup to gauge how things are going. Are they smiling, body language relaxed, tensed in excitement, is their tail wagging? Or, are they looking a bit forlorn, ears drooping body sagging. Their body language willl give you the input you need.

img_2146-8x12-2Dogs read body language, smells and listen to tones for a living. You are probably not nearly a good enough actor to fool them.
Did you ever have a really good belly laugh at a joke? Or see something so funny that you couldn’t stop smiling? Recently at the USDAA Nationals in the DAM Team Finals, my silly teammates made me dress up in a rainbow skirt and floppy antenna headgear. If you know me at all, I just don’t do stuff like that. I lost all my dignity that day, but boy I had folks laughing, smirking and smiling at me. They were having a pure experience of happiness, at my expense, but whatever :-).

This is the fun I am talking about, a pure feeling of happiness. Channel the feelings of joy that you have felt in other situations and apply them into your training sessions. Truly experience those feelings and then begin your training session.


Start with something simple. Shape a behavior or have a game of ball with some sit stay training.

Let’s take the sit stay game with a ball toss as a reward. If your dog doesn’t retrieve, no matter, play some other game.

SESSION: A Stay with Ball as a Reward
We are going to look at the entire session as something fun! Doesn’t matter if they fail at the stay, I am not going to get pissed, I am just going to accept it as a part of the dog’s learning process. After all, they can learn as much from what makes me throw the ball as what doesn’t!

So let’s say, I ask for a stay, and when I build a bit of drive, the dog breaks the stay. As soon as the stay is broken I call them back in a fun and happy voice with a real smile on my face, “Get over here you!” and gesture them to come back.

Guess what, they just learned that if they break the stay they can’t earn the ball. I kept the session fun and kept them engaged without telling them they were right when they were wrong. I never want to tell them they were right when they were wrong because ultimately that creates more confusion and hurts your training more than it helps. But that doesn’t mean the whole session can’t be fun!

I am not worried about shutting down a sensitive dog because I am having fun in the session. This keeps my dog engaged and ready to try again. I am not at all concerned that there was failure, I just accept it as a step in the learning process, and problem solve the issue. I can make the decision whether or not I should make it easier for the dog to succeed, or if I think I gave them a challenge that they can handle, I will work through the failure and we will try again. More failure? No worries, try again!

When the dog succeeds I will release them to the ball and have a great game. You will find that you really enjoyed watching your dog problem solve that session and earn success.

I will tell you that when I teach seminars I often work other people’s dogs through training issues. The owners will frequently tell me, before I start, that their dog is very soft and won’t tolerate repetition. I know that for the most part this is simply because the dog hasn’t been having fun in their work sessions. When I work these dogs I make the session a blast, stay invested and keep positive energy whether they fail or not. I never tell then they are right when they are wrong, but I keep the whole session fun. I may even let them fail 6-7 times while working through an issue. Guess what, these dogs don’t quit; they stay engaged and keep working through the issue. When they make the right choices we have a big party. I enjoy the session all the way through and so does the dog.

Your ability to relax regarding the process, have fun, simply take things as they come, problem solving all the way, has an incredible effect on the dog.

If you can embrace this concept in all your training sessions, I guarantee you will love the result, and so will your dog!!

Big smile now 🙂
Please share if you enjoyed!

Stacy Winkler

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keenthe-perfect-pictureIn training are there are so many details that it is easy to let some pass by the wayside. But as the saying goes, “The devil is in the details.” This is definitely a truism for dog training. Although we may get frustrated by the amount of details and the clarity that is required to create great behaviors or even decent skills, the fact remains that whether we embrace these facts or choose to dismiss them, they are facts that exist regardless.

If we agree that there are many facets to the behaviors that we want to create, and that dogs learn best when we are clear and consistent with our training, then would it not make sense to state that if we do not totally understand what we want out of the behavior or a session, then it will be impossible for us to communicate that clearly to our dog? If we don’t totally comprehend it, than how the heck can we teach it to someone else??

Some of the basic points I always make to my students is that before you take your dog out to train a drill you need to:
*Have a plan!
*Know exactly what you want the dog to do.
*How you are going to begin.
*How you are going to end the drill.
*What to do when the dog succeeds.
*How you are going to react if there is failure.

While analyzing reasons why students struggle, I found that that there was one simple component to training that most were neglecting: They did not have a complete vision of what the behavior and session they are trying to create looks like. I call the visualization of what your training session should look like your Perfect Picture.

If you can’t envision exactly what you want the behavior and session you are training to look like, then how you can you possibly tell your dog accurately when they are right and when they are wrong?

Even more importantly, if you don’t have a Perfect Picture of your session, how will you notice when undesirable things are occurring? Ummm, you can’t. And guess what happens when your dog rehearses behaviors that you don’t want? THEY CAN GET REALLY GOOD AT THEM!!!

Now you may be thinkin’, “ Wait a minute, that is so not me.” Oh, but very likely, yes it is you. I’ll just go ahead and tell you why :-).

Having a Perfect Picture isn’t just about the big details of the behavior. I am talking about the whole training session – every little bit. Most people miss the nuances. You know, those pesky little details that are so vital to giving our dogs a clear understanding of what we want them to do.

To qualify, my ultimate Perfect Picture (when the training is perfected) may not be what I am working on at the moment. My current Perfect Picture can partly be about what I want to accomplish in this drill, but the most vital part of that P.P. is that I visualize the entire session start to finish. The drill is only a piece of the whole. My P.P. begins the moment I approach my dog and is complete when the session ends and the dog is in their crate.

If I am not clear about what all the pieces of that drill should look like, one piece of training may be accomplished while I may inadvertently be creating failure somewhere else that could cause big problems in the future.


Let’s break down my Perfect Picture of a simple sit-stay in front of a jump. What should that look like? You could be sitting there thinkin’ “ Hey, it’s a sit-stay. The dog should sit and stay!”

But what does that sit-stay really entail? What should that really look like? Close your eyes and imagine what you want to see when you set your dog up at a jump.

My Perfect Picture for that sit-stay has many components. I try to keep it simple, but I need to know what is desirable and what is not. I begin at the beginning:

  1. I connect with my dog as I approach them in the crate and create a state of anticipation and arousal.
  2. I release my dog dynamically from the crate with focus and drive and reward with play or food.
  3. I maintain a connection as I bring my dog to the start line. When I set my dog on the start line they should be engaged and working at a high level of intensity.
  4.  They should sit quickly when asked, ready to jam.
  5.  They should hold their sit no matter how much they are pumped up and they must have no foot or butt movement. (I will reward accordingly)
  6. Their eyes should stay on me the entire time until I tell them to look for their line.
  7.  They should leave only when I give them their verbal cue and not a moment before.
  8.  I work my drill with attention to all the details.
  9. I make sure to keep my connection throughout the skill work particularly as I finish one repetition and begin another.
  10.  I manage the session, maintaining intensity and drive until my dog is back in the crate.

If anything deviates from this picture, I need to train the issues. Break behaviors down, add more intensity, focus and value..…

If this feels overwhelming to you in any way, take into consideration that the bulk of the Perfect Picture is exactly the same for every session. The only thing that really changes is the actual drill that is the focus of the training. The rest should look the same every time I train. I always want connection, attention and a desire to work. I always want to manage my sessions and so forth. Sometimes my sessions are extremely short . Or I may just be building on, strengthening or creating the skills and attention that will be the core of my training sessions, such as with a puppy or a new dog. I am not saying that this needs to be perfect immediately, just that you know intimately what your goals are so you are able to work with clear intent towards those goals.

I use the start-line as an example because it is the biggest point of failure in most people’s training. And I feel it is also the biggest point of stress for dogs. Not only can it be very confusing and produce a ton of failure, but it is also how most sessions begin.

For instance you take your dog out to work, put them on the start-line, they pretty much immediately leave. Then we give some sort of verbal or physical correction. Verbally I am referring to some sort of non-reward marker ( UHUH or AAAAAAGNNNNN) (I have no idea how to write that and hopefully you get the idea). Physically I am referring to slumping our shoulders or looking disappointed; I do not mean beating on the dogs with a stick.

Even though these corrections may seem minor, they are often the lead-in to your skill work. NOT A FUN OR MOTIVATING WAY TO BEGIN TRAINING! We are starting drills that should be exciting and fun with some NOT very happy campers. This of course makes everything more difficult to train. After all, the dog’s motto is “if it ain’t fun, why the heck do it!” You are beginning your training session in the hole.

Getting on a start-line soapbox here, almost all start-lines issues I see have to do with a lack of clear criteria. Too many releases on an “almost.” It always pains me to see trainers get pissed-off at their dogs for start-line failures. Especially when on the previous repetition they allowed the dog to leave early. Training 101, yes I know, but is it fair to correct a dog one moment for what you said was just dandy the repetition before??? Now to be reasonable, many trainers have no idea that their dog left the start-line early in the first place. But unfortunately, just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And because it has happened, the dog is likely to learn a lesson from it. I frequently tell my students it is just as easy to teach something incorrectly as it is to teach something correctly. Yes, it’s a bummer. Removing feet from soap box.

As I mentioned earlier, when we concentrate on an aspect of training, some things may get by us. We all know that the need to always be consistent can suck, but whether it sucks or not, it is a fact. If you don’t know comprehensively what your session should look like, important pieces of training will be missed. If you are not detail oriented you can inadvertently cause issues that may take a great deal of time to resolve.

By looking deeper into your training and considering the session as a whole, not simply one facet of the session (the sit-stay), you will be elevating and progressing a much more extensive amount of behavior all at once.

I will use my foundation contact training for one more example of the need for a Perfect Picture. I do most of my contact training on a baby A-frame. It is 2’x4’ on each side rather than the standard size.

When a young dog has a training session, I always emphasize the importance of the trainer taking time to imagine a comprehensive Perfect Picture before they begin their session. Most folks are only concentrating on the contact work ( the drill) itself: such as will I work distance? Speed? Where will I lead out to and so forth? That is usually where the picture begins and ends for most folks. Unfortunately by simply focusing on one aspect of the session, the drill itself, rather than the session as a whole they are missing a ton of important training details that can negatively impact the success of your training .


First I will plan what I want to accomplish on my repetitions, always prepared to adjust my session if the dog is struggling, and knowing that if I struggle, my best Plan of Action is to give the dog a break and figure out how to proceed.

My P.P. will then include:

  1. Get connection, desire and drive from the dog in the crate.
  2.  Release the dog dynamically from the crate and play.
  3.  Keep my connection with the dog to the start line (can be with play or treats)
  4. Put the dog on the start line with drive and intensity.
  5. Keep my connection while I lead out (rewarding successful connection and the stay).
  6. Raise my arm to get focus on the obstacle and release the dog on my verbal.
  7. Implement my training plan.
  8. Make the reward an event if the dog does well, then release the dog dynamically from the contact.
  9. Maintain connection and enthusiasm with my dog from the conclusion of one drill to the beginning of the next drill.
  10. End the drill by running the dog back to their crate.

Of course I am not going into the minutia of the actual drill here, but hopefully you get the idea.

Remember most aspects of the P.P. are the same in every training session. I am not reinventing my whole P.P. every time I train. Principally, especially once my connection foundation and play training is where I want it to be, only the details for the individual drills change.

Therefore, my P.P. will always contain pieces concerning focus on me and intensity out of the crate; connection from the end of one drill to the beginning of the next drill or to the crate; enthusiasm from the moment the dog comes out of the crate until the moment they return. The variations include having a comprehensive plan for the individual drill and knowing what to do when the behavior is going well and what to do if there is failure.

Without a Perfect Picture, what I frequently see are sessions with some attention to detail but one where many other vital bits fall by the wayside. Connections are frequently not maintained and session pieces are not managed. While the handler focuses on the most central aspect of the training (in this instance the contact) their dogs get distracted, leaving their handlers to sniff the ground or have a pee. They beg for rewards by continually trying to jump onto the contact (or cookie machine) without being cued and at the same time ignoring the handler’s body language and so forth. But when the handler has a comprehensive picture of what the whole session should look like these issues can be minimized or erased completely because the session is clearly defined and directed.

To recap, remember that your dog is always learning so you must visualize your Perfect Picture from beginning to end. If you do, you will know exactly when your training is on the money and when there are problems.This knowledge will propel your training sessions to new heights. Not only will you train more successfully but you will get more accomplished in a fraction of the time. It’s worth it!! Embrace the P.P. concept and if you need help, ask your instructor, or for online help with me, contact me at for private or group classes. Yes that was an extremely shameless plug 🙂

Have fun training!!
Stacy Winkler