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events

PPG Workshop: Walking Nicely

Louise Stapleton-Frappell presents highlights from PPG’s Walk This Way instructor certification

workshop last October

O

Workshop instructors Louise Stapleton-Frappell and Niki Tudge (far right) demonstrate how to transfer the knowledge and skills learned to a group class setting

ctober saw PPG members from around the globe make their way to PPG and DogNostics Career Center’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida for two back-to-back workshops and four days of

fun. Following on from Robert Hewings’ excellent scent work workshop at PPG headquarters in Tampa, Florida (see PPG Workshop: Scent Work on pp. 14-15), Louise Stapleton-Frappell and Niki Tudge hosted the twoday "Walk This Way" instructor certification workshop. Learning objectives included: Understand the basics of respondent and operant conditioning in the context of walking dogs. • Understand and learn how to apply the key concepts of On Task Skill Coaching. • Learn how to teach key skills through practical exercises. • Learn to conduct a group class with your peers. • Review the Walk This Way Instructor Program curriculum, handouts, games, skills and knowledge. During the course of the workshop, the instructors highlighted the fact that teaching a client to teach their dog to walk nicely is a skill that is often not fully mastered in a group class curriculum when trained alongside other important pet dog skills. Walking nicely, however, is a life skill that, when missing, can significantly and negatively impact the human-canine relationship, resulting in fewer walks, less exercise and a decrease in social exposure for the dog. Tudge pointed out that this runs the risk of a dog entering a downward spiral to a life in exile or incarceration. Attendees were guided through the Walk This Way curriculum and taught all the skills and knowledge needed to successfully run Walk This Way group or private classes and workshops. Topics covered also included gaining an understanding of how conditioning works; how setting events and motivating operations influence behavior and how you can influence them; how to effectively use reinforcement - the types, schedules, delivery and the Premack Principle; how to use the TrainTest-Train protocol and effectively baseline, track and manage training data to accelerate students' progression. There were also many practical 16

BARKS from the Guild/January 2019

exercises to participate in to learn and try out the key skills needed for teaching dogs to walk nicely on leash. The exercises began with focus games and moved on to teaching dogs how to stand on leash calmly. This is extremely beneficial, as the dogs are reinforced, using a very high rate of reinforcement, for being close to the handler in a loose leash walking position. This transitioned into the actual walk by using small criteria and setting the dogs up for success. For pets that have learned how to “pull,” Stapleton-Frappell offered options for fun and creative ways to reduce the intensity and frequency of pulling behavior without building poor behavior chains that inadvertently reinforce the pet for this unwanted behavior. The instructors did not just focus on the requisite skills and knowledge for teaching dogs to walk nicely though. They also showed attendees how to transfer the knowledge and skills they learned to a group class setting, as well as sharing the core concepts of On Task Skill Coaching (see A Practical Teaching Method, BARKS from the Guild, November 2018, pp. 54-56). The knowledge gained in the workshop could thus be applied across all the attendees’ service offerings from group to private classes. The workshop culminated in participants conducting a group class with their peers and the opportunity to gain the professional Walk This Way instructor certificate. n

About the Instructors Louise Stapleton-Frappell is an accredited professional canine trainer and behavior consultant as well as membership manager of PPG British Isles, regional coordinator of Doggone Safe in Spain, owner of the DogSmith of Estepona, co-host of BARKS Podcasts, PPG board member, and partner and faculty member at DogNostics Career Center. Niki Tudge is president and founder of PPG, president and founder of The DogSmith, president of Doggone Safe, and founder and faculty member at DogNostics Career Center.

Resources

Tudge, N. (2018, November). A Practical Teaching Method. BARKS from the Guild (33) 54-56. Available at: bit.ly/2QhtDiu

Profile for The Pet Professional Guild

BARKS from the Guild January 2019  

BARKS from the Guild is the bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, p...

BARKS from the Guild January 2019  

BARKS from the Guild is the bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, p...