"There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going to"
I trained my first dog for Competition Obedience while a sophmore in College, he earned a CD and I joined an Obedience club, I continued training him and when he was all trained for the Open excerises I entered him , but we didn't qualify, he had trouble after the jumps, x-rays showed grade 2 dysplasia. He retired, I later got another dog and again we earned a CD we continued to train in open, I didn't do a good job with the ear pinch retrieve, because I couldn't pinch a Cattle Dogs ear hard enough to make her yelp (thereby opening her mouth so I could shove the dumbell in)
I went to a lot of seminars in those days, Michael Tucker the Aussie Guide Dog trainer, Diane Bauman, Bernie Brown, Patricia Gail Burnham, others I have trouble remembering now, But I do so remember how "proofing" for the Obedience ring really meant setting your dog up to be wrong so you could get a good strong correction in.
Then there were changes happening and I went to seminars by Chris Bach, Dawn Jecs, and others who were the first wave of more positive training with food rewards. At the time the Obedience club I belonged to's Head Trainer forbid food in the club, and as what I was seeing from people at match's was food being spit at dogs, uugg, not something I wanted to start doing.
I was in a quandry, I wanted to train, I wanted a better relationship, but I wasn't competitive enough to need titles.
At this time I started training my horses in Natural Horsemanship, this taught me more about the relationship I wanted to have with my dogs than most of the seminars I went to.
I went 15 years, the lifetime of the most special Cattle dog ever born :-), without earning an Obedience title, and yet I had a dog I adored who would have done anything I asked of her and done it happily, I am certain she was the best trained dog I had to that time.
I never lied to her.
I never set her up to be wrong.
She went everywhere with me.
She trusted me implicitly.
I was never going back to the correction and lies of the old ways.
Dog obedience continued to change and more positive methods infiltrated even the club I belonged to, I went to seminars with Leslie Nelson, John Rogerson and Chris Bach again. I decided I wanted a dog who was a bit softer than my Cattle Dog, a little less intense, and after having the most perfect dog of a breed it's too hard an act to follow for another dog.
I got my first smooth Collie, sweet and sensitive, I started training her in Obedience, but she took off in the breed show ring and for years I enjoyed that. Then one day I had a litter, in that litter a little tri girl glued herself to me from the time her eyes opened and I knew she would be my new obedience dog.
I joined positive classes with her and she earned her first title in Rally at 8 months of age.
Unfortunately I learned that some places were using Positive in their names but were still using Positive punishment for "proofing" this was not for me or my sweet sensitive dog, so we often dropped out of classes because I felt we were lured into them by false pretenses of "positive"
Then I entered a class called "Motivational" by a trainer who called her school "Positive" something. and found out Motivation meant Compulsion! Dropped that class before the first session was over. The way to teach heeling was to have the dog in heel position, and with a piece of hot dog in hand, leash tight, jerk straight up hard and fast as you take a step, so the dog jumps forward and you stuff the food into their mouth.
I spent many years using luring to train my dogs, then had to learn how to be effective at fading the lures, I didn't think I would ever get into shaping. but took a couple workshops with Dee Ganley and my Mudi and found I could do this.
A year or so ago I found this Blog by a woman named Denise Fenzi, she had OTCH dogs and she was training without lies and corrections, I started following her Blog and she talked about a combination of lureing and shaping, oh, maybe I could do this!
I signed up for an on-line class in how to play with your dogs as a training reward, to make treaining enjoyable and fun, breakout from training, play go back ot work. Unfortunately at that time Keyna got sick and before the class was over I lost my dear girl.
But I had learned the importance of play and integrating it into a relationship from the start.
Now my young Ripple and I play lots, I have done some shaping (clicker style) training and am now taking another on-line class at the new Fenzi Sports Academy in Heeling Games.
Even if we don't earn titles we are having fun, but I think those titles will be coming too.