Tag Archives: Theory

Dog training theory articles and blog posts by Ron Watson of Pawsitive Vybe.

Pulling the Strings Into a Common Thread

Pulling the Strings Into a Common Thread


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So far in this series I’ve used a metaphor to explain the complex and interrelated nature of behaviors and behavior chains – behavioral problems are knots made out of little strings of behavior. This metaphor fits the confusion and frustration that we experience when trying to solve problems with our dogs. It also brings into […]

10 Strings to Pull to Manage Drive and Untie Behavioral Knots – Pt 2

10 Strings to Pull to Manage Drive and Untie Behavioral Knots – Pt 2


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The last two installments of this series outlined the behavioral strings and knots metaphor and examined 5 ‘strings’ of behavior and their relationship to behavioral knots and to each other. I am going to continue to stretch this metaphor and cover some less tangible behavioral strings that are precursors and requirements for engagement, interaction, and […]

10 Strings to Pull to Manage Drive and Untie Behavioral Knots – Pt 1

10 Strings to Pull to Manage Drive and Untie Behavioral Knots – Pt 1


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Yesterday’s piece was about how solving behavioral problems is kind of like untangling knots. Today I’m going to talk about the strings that make up the behaviors and how they can be used as well as what happens to other strings when you tug on them with bitework. Favorite

Contextual Understanding is Like Conversational Spanish

Contextual Understanding is Like Conversational Spanish


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Learning a foreign language from a conversational angle is all the rage these days. Instead of focusing on grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, the very concepts that fluency in language is built upon, the teaching is focused on creating competence: pronunciation, common situations, verbal repetition, and vocabulary supplements. contextual understanding in dog training is like conversational […]

Metaphor and Understanding in Dog Training

Metaphor and Understanding in Dog Training

In our business, teaching people to do cool things with their dogs, we rely on metaphor all the time to communicate complex ideas. A metaphor can be tailored to a specific client or a team and can be used to help them succeed with their dog. Sometimes that means just simplifying the situation and placing the focus on the things we need to succeed, and sometimes we try to completely reframe the handler’s understanding

Success Vs Performance Requirements

Success Vs Performance Requirements

Disc dogger’s have a problem. We all want to play this game so darned much that it’s hard to remain consequent and focused on the component skills that build our game. Once our dogs start to approach the realm of performance potential, it’s hard to keep our focus on being successful because of the handler’s expectation of performance. This is classic putting the cart before the horse behavior and can be very detrimental to a team’s long term potential.

Anatomy of a Behavior

Anatomy of a Behavior

Most of the behaviors that we create with our dogs are really chains of small concepts and chains are only as strong as their weakest link. Dog trainers and dog sport handlers need to be able to break down complex behaviors, isolate the weak concepts and mark and reinforce them to make them stronger.

Marking with a Finger Point

Marking with a Finger Point


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One of the things we like to do at Pawsitive Vybe is to use a finger point to mark behaviors. The above video is a demonstration of the finger point mark. It’s real nice for keeping a dog’s focus on the handler and for silently marking behaviors. This is quite useful with multiple dogs because a […]

Principles for the Working Dog

Principles for the Working Dog


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Set Position When we set the working dog on their Spot or Pedestal, it would be a good idea to use a very high rate of reinforcement not unlike Step 2 from last week – Creating Desire for Duration. At Pawsitive Vybe, any time we encounter a challenging situation or absolutely must have the dog […]

Humor, Repetition and the Classical Condition

Humor, Repetition and the Classical Condition


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Yesterday, I did a piece on Reframing the Dog’s Understanding of the Door. A couple of the comments pointed out some gaps in the one ‘how to’ paragraph. That paragraph was not meant as a lesson plan, it was just a quick hit explanation of the technique. Today’s installment is also not meant as a […]