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Building Blocks for Performance

Building Blocks for Performance

3.2 4
by Bobbie Anderson, Tracy Libby

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Make training fun for you dog. Motivate and encourage drive and a positive attitude in your canine performance prospect. Create a puppy with focus and a "can do" attitude using Anderson's positive reinforcement training methods.

Build a strong bond with your puppy, use play to instill specific behaviors, get the maximum benefits from praise, set goals and


Make training fun for you dog. Motivate and encourage drive and a positive attitude in your canine performance prospect. Create a puppy with focus and a "can do" attitude using Anderson's positive reinforcement training methods.

Build a strong bond with your puppy, use play to instill specific behaviors, get the maximum benefits from praise, set goals and develop a plan for your dog's success in any type of performance competition.

Editorial Reviews

Sheltie International
Bobbie unveils ten essential building blocks that will turn a puppy into a highly motivated, enthusiastic, confident performance dog. Step-by-step methods and how-to photographs will help you give your puppy that winning edge, You will learn to build a strong bond with your dog, motivate your puppy, get the maximum benefits from praise, understand and use compulsion and correction. Use play to instill specific behaviors, set goals and develop a plan for competitive success, and make training fun!

Product Details

Alpine Publications, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
3 Months

Read an Excerpt

If you want to be a good trainer you need to do three things: Train, train, train. Theres no way around it. There are no short cuts. A substantial part of learning to be a proficient trainer is learning how to play with your puppy and how to incorporate play into your training regimen so your puppy views training as fun. I can already hear owners wailing, For heaven sakes, I know how to play with my puppy! If that’s the case then you have my permission to skip this chapter. However, if you want to know how to use play to create a happy, motivated dog that is focused, attentive, and eager to work in any competitive arena, then read on.

There really is no limit to the fun you can have with your puppy and the behaviors you can instill when you teach your puppy to learn using play. Play creates fun; fun creates focus; and focus maximizes a puppy’s propensity to learn. The more your puppy focuses on you, the more you will be able to teach him. The more you play with your puppy, the more he will want to be with you. You will become the most exciting aspect of his world. Subsequently, your puppy will be more attentive to learning and less inclined to wander off and find his own fun or trouble. Equally important, interactive play develops the most compelling aspect of competitive obedience attention.

Furthermore, play is essential when it comes to establishing a strong bond and a trusting relationship between you and your puppy. A puppy that trusts you will be more open to learning because he has no fear or anxiety, two things which inhibit learning.

Fun and games are vital for stimulating circulation and building strong bones and muscles and a strong heart. Play nourishes and energizes a puppy’s mind and keeps it active, healthy, and alert. As puppies grow and mature, play is the perfect prescription for releasing stress during training sessions and while on the campaign trail.


Puppies spend countless hours playing with their littermates: running, freezing, stalking, pouncing, and crouching in preparation for mock battle. Suddenly, they tear off in opposite directions, twisting and turning and running in all-out sprints as they body- slam and somersault and playfully nip each others ears and necks. At first the play is friendly and good-hearted. As the puppies grow, the ground rules quickly change and the play becomes more fierce and competitive. The puppies are not only establishing a pecking order within their litter, they are also honing their natural prey instincts. These include playing, retrieving, herding, and hunting. As a trainer, you can capitalize on these natural instincts and drives to instill the specific behaviors that produce an enthusiastic and motivated worker.

Like humans, puppies are individuals. Some puppies are born gregarious, happy-go-lucky and ready for any activity at the drop of a hat. The sight of a Frisbee, ball or tug toy is enough to whip them into a frenzy. Naturally, it takes little incentive to get them to play. Other puppies, particularly toy and non-sporting breeds, do not have a strong play drive. Nevertheless, do not abandon using play to teach specific behaviors to these dogs. It will take more work on your part to activate the prey drive in breeds or individual puppies that lack a strong play drive. (See page 74 for tips on increasing low play/prey drive.)

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, and the genetic lottery can produce toy breeds with strong play drives and herding and hunting breeds with little or no play drive. However, every puppy has something in his life that he really loves maybe its a furry toy for a Beagle, a squeaky toy for a terrier, a raccoon-scented cloth for a Coonhound, or chase recall games for Siberians and Whippets. In the breed ring, finding that something that turns a dog on is often referred to as pushing a dog’s buttons. Basically, its anything a toy, a ball, a specific noise or tone of voice to which a puppy will respond. If you have a puppy with low play drive, then you need to find that something that excites and stimulates and drives your puppy to the brink of madness. Then use it only to incite play.

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, My puppy won’t play! I’d be a wealthy woman living the life of luxury on the French Riviera. There are owners walking among us who are absolutely one-hundred percent convinced that their puppy will not play. Here is the typical scenario. An owner brings their puppy to class and spends the better part of the time moaning about how their puppy won’t play. I take the puppy, tweak him and say in a high, squeaky voice, I’ve got you! You silly boy, or Look at you! Quickly, but gently, I will grab at his feet or tap his feet with my foot or bounce a tug toy. Within ten seconds the puppy is playing with me a total stranger.

What People are Saying About This

Sylvia Bishop
While the focus of this book is on raising and training a puppy for performance, anyone with the desire to train a dog will find in these pages a unique approach to the art of puppy training. (Sylvia Bishop, International expert on canine behavior and training.)

Meet the Author

Bobbie Anderson is a successful exhibitor, trainer, and former AKC obedience judge. She teaches all levels of competition obedience at her Eugene Obedience Training facility in Oregon. For the past three years she represented the United States on the World Cup Obedience Team, serving as team captain in 2010 and 2011. She has titled more than seventy dogs in AKC performance events with multiple breeds including Shelties, German Shepherds, Border Collies, and English Cockers.

Tracy Libby is an award-winning writer who work appears in numerous publications including the AKC Gazette, Oregon Magazine, and others. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and a recipient of the Elsworth Howell award for dog writing. She shows her Australian Shepherds in both conformation and obedience.

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Building Blocks for Performance 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
TherapyDogMom More than 1 year ago
I do not have competition dogs but have found the psychology, techniques, and suggestions very helpful in training my one year old pit-mix rescue. The book is enjoyable to read with English verbiage and sense of humor.
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