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Sophia Yin Seminar


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So one of the perks of me now being employed at the doggie daycare (the owners are kind enough to extend me the same perks even though I only work one shift per week) is attending any seminars they host for free. So this weekend I am attending a 2 day Sophia Yin seminar on working with dogs and cats with fear, aggression and reactivity issues.

 

And...drumroll please...there are working spots on day 2 geared toward improving timing and making you a better trainer that were offered to staff and Skye and I got one!!

 

I am going to be nervous as heck. I get performance anxiety and this is the first time the owners will see me working with a dog since I started shadowing Liz. It also means long days for Violet and Zuri which makes me really nervous with everything going on with Violet, but a friend is helping me out with that so mostly I'm just excited!

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Keep us posted! Sounds like a good experience!

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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What great news! We have dog training classes where I work (in education), and the professor of it absolutely loves Sophia Yin's works.

 

And you can do it. Just take a deep breath, and continually tell yourself that you're a student and that you're there to learn and improve. But I bet you're already doing great work and will show those other people a thing or two!

 

Yay for you!

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So far day 1 has been covering a lot of stuff that's already very familiar for me - classical and operant conditioning, the 4 quadrants, possible pitfalls and side effects of punishment. It's always good to hear it again, especially as I'm currently reading How Dogs Learn for the Pat Miller academy so it's good timing to cement things into my head, and Sophia gives lots of really good analogies, which is something I need. But really looking forward to tomorrow.

 

She is btw an excellent speaker. Conveys information very concisely, entertaining, funny, stays on track/on topic, I definitely recommend her!

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest Giselle

I'm assuming this is a Modifying fear/aggression workshop? Dr. Yin almost always starts with the basics because she is real stickler for people *really* understanding the science and not just memorizing random facts. To do what works, we need to know why it works. If we're going to discuss +R techniques, then we better make sure we're actually using +R and not a mix of -P/+R ... because that changes the behavior and conversation entirely. (You'd be amazed at the number of dog trainers who can't categorize learning theory correctly!) Looking forward to hearing about your second hands-on day! Always glad to hear about folks' feedback.

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I'm assuming this is a Modifying fear/aggression workshop? Dr. Yin almost always starts with the basics because she is real stickler for people *really* understanding the science and not just memorizing random facts. To do what works, we need to know why it works. If we're going to discuss +R techniques, then we better make sure we're actually using +R and not a mix of -P/+R ... because that changes the behavior and conversation entirely. (You'd be amazed at the number of dog trainers who can't categorize learning theory correctly!) Looking forward to hearing about your second hands-on day! Always glad to hear about folks' feedback.

Oh, I'm aware of how few people really understand it. My common complaint these days is that many dog "trainers" don't have a desire to learn the science of animal behavior, which is, uh, kind of important if you're going to teach people to train dogs. :)

 

Anyway, yes, that's what this seminar was and day 2 was spent more focused on using counter-conditioning and desensitization to address issues. As far as the hands on stuff goes, the instruction leading up to it on body posture and timing was really educational for me. You probably know that she's done studies on how your speed affects performance, going so far as to classify your treat delivery speed and your body motion speed into 5 levels to figure out the ideal speeds. That was REALLY useful to me because I did not appreciate how crucial that sort of stuff is regardless of using a marker (again, I like the science stuff, and think it's cool that she can back it up with her own research).

 

The part where I was working with her with Skye was a bit of a disaster for me. She worked with us first, for a REALLY long time and I wasn't always clear on what I was supposed to be doing because she was talking to everyone watching more than to me. At one point, Skye was supposed to be focused on me as we did repeat backward sits as she used herself as a distraction. I heard her saying "1 second" and I thought she was telling me to let Skye look at her for 1 sec before getting her to move, but she was actually commenting on my reaction time so instead of getting faster, I kept waiting so it looked like I was just slow!! I was also incredibly nervous (I get nervous "performing") and sweat was POURING off of me, and in that situation I am not good at processing the large quantity of info that was being thrown at me. So basically I looked like a crappy trainer. I took a class at Coventry about a year ago, but I don't think Liz remembers what I was like in class so this was essentially the first time she saw me training and I really wanted to make a good impression. :( She did videotape it so we're going to go over it together and I am for sure going to point out when I wasn't clear on what I was supposed to be doing!

 

Having said that, just based on our hands on session yesterday, one session when we got home and applying the info on timing and delivery this morning, Skye's attention and responsiveness was noticeably improved on our walk this morning and I do a lot of leash training. That info in and of itself is truly invaluable. I'm also probably going to start implementing some of her Learn to Earn program. Doubt I will go through the whole process with everyone, but I've gotten lax on that sort of stuff and I will admit that all 3 of my dogs meet some criteria for qualifying for needing it. :) Zuri and Skye could really use some help with impulse control and Violet's reactivity toward other dogs (she becomes easily aroused) could use more work. We've been using classical counterconditioning, which has worked well (I know you're going to laugh when you hear me say this), but I now appreciate better how operant cc will help us fine tune. ;)

 

Seriously though, the difference in Skye in one day is pretty impressive. This could just be coincidence, but this morning Cisco started acting like he was going to puke. That is SUPER exciting for Skye (she is "cat-trained" but she's got a prey drive and some things can still be overly interesting to her, plus "I might get to eat cat puke, yay!!!" :lol). She ran over, I told her "leave it" (she has a decent leave it based on the little work I've done, but it's not incredibly reliable if something is high value because I've been pretty lazy). She shot over to me instantly to get her reward. Like I said, could be coincidence, but my gut says it wasn't. :blah

 

Anyway, I am still processing a lot of what I took in, but I definitely took some good things from it. I wish I could have picked her brain a bit more. The one question I did really want her to answer I didn't ask well. After thinking about her answer, I wanted to go back and "re-ask" the question, but I was so braindead by the end of the seminar when I had the chance that I just couldn't do it. :P

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Glad you had a good time! Don't worry about performance anxiety. It happens to everyone. And yeah, I had to guinea pig a lot of handler skill speed/dog response speed criteria when she was first codifying it into a standard metric. It took a long long long time :P As for turning it into habit, it takes a lot of practice and vigilant observation. You'll get it. And, as long as your dogs are improving, you know you're doing the right thing.

 

If you want, you can PM me your question. Hopefully, it'll be something I've heard her talk about and I can try to help.

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Thanks. :)

 

I do think I have pretty good (it's all relative, right? ;) ) timing/handling skills, especially when I'm being thoughtful about it although I'm very aware I have plenty of room to improve. But I've always naturally been good at spotting when people should reward or are being slow/missing reinforcement opportunities. But when you're learning multiple new things at one time, you start to adjust one thing and that other thing you just learned goes away. :P

 

I had another example just a little bit ago of the change I'm already seeing in Skye. Jerkhead barking dachsunds that live downstairs cause her to bark and run to the door when they go in and out so she's to come and sit in front of me instead. I would say how good she is at is depends on how she's feeling and how loud they are. :P Tonight before I even registered that they were barking she had shot across the room and was sitting in front of me, *at attention*. She's also mentally/physically tired from all day yesterday plus an extended slumber party with her bestie, but I don't think that's it.

 

ETA: Especially because she's playing like a maniac right now, by herself. :lol

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Thanks. :)

 

I do think I have pretty good (it's all relative, right? ;) ) timing/handling skills, especially when I'm being thoughtful about it although I'm very aware I have plenty of room to improve. But I've always naturally been good at spotting when people should reward or are being slow/missing reinforcement opportunities. But when you're learning multiple new things at one time, you start to adjust one thing and that other thing you just learned goes away. :P

 

I had another example just a little bit ago of the change I'm already seeing in Skye. Jerkhead barking dachsunds that live downstairs cause her to bark and run to the door when they go in and out so she's to come and sit in front of me instead. I would say how good she is at is depends on how she's feeling and how loud they are. :P Tonight before I even registered that they were barking she had shot across the room and was sitting in front of me, *at attention*. She's also mentally/physically tired from all day yesterday plus an extended slumber party with her bestie, but I don't think that's it.

 

ETA: Especially because she's playing like a maniac right now, by herself. :lol

 

 

Awesome! Makes you feel good doesn't it? I had a moment like that with Kili at agility class this week. There was a new dog at the class for a behavioural consult. He was on a leash and being very good, but he was NEW. When they came into the ring I had just taken Kili out of her crate. She was SO excited about a new dog. She looked at him, tail went crazy, and then she plonked her butt down in heel position and looked at me. I was ecstatic! Gave her a reward and lots of praise. She looked at the other dog, tail goes crazy, and then looked at me! So I know that feeling. Makes you feel validated in all your hard work. Keep it up cause you're doing great and the trainer is going to see that as well!

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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