Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Please, for the love of your dog, PUT AWAY THE POM POMS ...

Cheer leading is a great sport I hear.
It's entertaining.
It's athletic.
It builds team comradeship and is apparently both fun and challenging.

BUT it's its own sport.

There is NO NEED for cheer leading in dog sports, or horse sports. Easy to say isn't it? Yah I do it too!


Begging for engagement, clapping your hands, pointy fingers, scooping over, repeating the dogs name a million times, all this and more can easily turn into cheer leading. Cheer leading is not rewarding ... it is noise for the sake of noise, self rewarding  (look at me super handler being all positive and shit) and it is a a feel good behaviour.

It is not constructive, helpful, educational nor useful.

Bending over your dog,  asking for hand touches that the dog never gets to follow through on, repeating a phrase or name again and again or any other similar behaviour simply poisons that cue. The dog will become inured to it's effect, and it will lose all impact. Not might. WILL.

Reward your dog (and yourself) thoughtfully with a plan. Have a plan in place for when your dog loses focus, or works more slowly than you want or whatever but please avoid the cheer leading! If I find myself cheer leading  I quit. Right there and then. Done for the day - dog doesn't want to play anyhow and making the dog play is no fun for any of us. I obviously need to spend the time planning not training if faking being happy is the norm.

Don't get me wrong - I talk to my dogs and horses a LOT especially in early training. "Yesssssssssssss, good dawg, lovely, ohh soooooo good", even just talking to myself in a happy voice "ohh pointy finger go away we don't need you here" or talking about what I want to see "focus forward a little more zoom" whatever keeps me on track works. I am not advocating silent training.

I am encouraging you to use rewards (of all sort) effectively and thoughtfully. I am suggesting you can nag a dog through cheer leading. Timing and reward placement are critical concepts no matter the sport ... use them well.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

What! No pointy fingers? ever? What am I supposed to do with them?. I do agree with most of what you say but I think the only way I could get rid of the pointy finger is to cut it off and that seems a bit drastic!