Building Blocks for Performance

( 4 )


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.

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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 develop a plan for your dog's success in any type of performance competition.

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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!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781577791058
  • Publisher: Alpine Publications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/10/2011
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 630,003
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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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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.

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Table of Contents

Foreword v
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .vii
Why Puppies Do What They Do 1
The Genetic Lottery 2
Individual Personality 4
The Puppy's Worldview 6
BLOCK ONE: Build a Strong Relationship 9
School Is Always in Session 10
Respect Is the Bottom Line 12
Time Is of the Essence 14
Bonding 16
Limited Access 19
BLOCK TWO: Make Training Fun 23
Puppies Possessed 24
Rules of Engagement 25
Keep the Games Fun 29
Pitfalls to Avoid 31
Controlling the Games 33
BLOCK THREE: The Finer Points of Motivation 35
Primary and Secondary Motivators 36
The Handler's Voice 37
Play and Games 39
Bone Apptit 43
Combining Motivators 45
BLOCK FOUR: Maximize Praise 49
Tone of Voice 49
Physical Praise 51
Timing 51
Incorrect Praise 53
Learning to Sit and Accept Praise 55
BLOCK FIVE: Compulsion and Correction 57
Making Sense of Compulsion and Correction 58
Training Is Compulsion 58
Correct the Right Way 59
The Midas Touch 64
Verbal Corrections 65
Reinforcement 67
The End Must Justify the Means 67
BLOCK SIX: Maximize Drive 71
High Prey Drive Equals High Energy 71
Managing a High-Drive Puppy 72
Increasing Low Prey Drive 74
Using Play to Increase Drive 76
The Retrieve Drive 78
BLOCK SEVEN: Laying the Groundwork 87
Using Play to Build Speed and Enthusiasm 87
Instilling Attention and Focus 93
Using Games to Increase Focus 93
BLOCK EIGHT: Teach Basics Skills 103
Instilling Quick and Consistent Responses 103
Teaching Elementary Obedience Skills 104 Teach It Right 112
Keep Your Options Open 113
Using Distractions 114
Formal Versus Informal Training 114
Practice Versus Training 117
How Often Should You Train 117
BLOCK NINE: Build a Plan for Success 119
Reality Check-The Right Puppy 119
Criteria for Goals 121
Outcome and Performance Goals 121
Long-Term and Short-Term Goals 122
Priorities 125
Motivating the Motivator 125
SetbacksÑThe Grand Canyon 126
BLOCK TEN: Be Demanding 127
Pay Attention to Details 127
Be Objective 128
No Excuses 129
Maintain Trust and Respect 129
The Beginning, Not the End 130
For Further Information 131
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 25, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    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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    Posted May 7, 2010

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