Canine Trainers Course Description
Logan Haus Kennels has developed a 5-day, comprehensive canine trainers course. Our course is designed around five classroom lectures over the first three days, with a couple hours of practical application during each of those three days, and the final two days are all practical application applying what was covered in class.
Our first lecture is on Operant and Classical Conditioning, the foundation of what our training methods and principles are based on. Learning the fundamentals of Operant and Classical Conditioning is vital for success in our training system.
During the Operant Conditioning lecture you will learn:
- The concept of how animals learn through the four quadrants of Operant Conditioning
- How to correctly use classical conditioning to prepare the dog for marker training
- How to properly motivate the dog for training
- How to achieve engagement before training can begin
- Drive theory in training
- The use of deprivation in training
- Reward VS reinforcer
- Timing of reinforcement
- Superstitious behaviors
- Primary / secondary reinforcers
- Reinforcement schedules
- Stimulus control
- Behavior chains
The second lecture is on proper K-9 selection. The degree of our success in dog training is greatly dictated by starting with the correct type of dog for the job required. Many dogs are genetically limited to the point of not being suitable for the type of work we are trying to train them to do. Having a thorough understanding of proper K-9 selection will keep your agency from fighting the uphill battle of trying to train a dog that is not genetically cut out to perform to the standard set forth by the mission requirement.
In the K-9 selection lecture you will learn:
- How to accurately identify the essential character traits required by all working dogs to be successful in training
- How to recognize a dog’s genetic potential and avoid “kennel blindness”
- How to test for the temperament type to set the training up for success
- The importance of medical testing beyond simple X Rays
The third lecture is on drive and grip development in patrol work, and learning correct decoy skills. A common problem we see way too often is a patrol dog who has been rushed too quickly in training and is asked to fight before he has learned to properly bite. In addition to this, we see decoys who lack the skill required to teach dogs to first bite correctly, and then fight correctly. For a police dog to be successful in an apprehension with a strong non-compliant suspect, the dog must have total confidence in his ability to control the fight with the man. He must learn a proper fighting skill set, and have a winning mindset in order to dominate and control a suspect.
In our patrol lecture you will learn:
- How to develop drive and teach proper gripping technique throughout all stages of young dog development
- How to bring out aggression, only after correct gripping technique is established (learn to bite first, then fight)
- How to channel between prey and defense
- The role of the handler during bite work
- The role of the decoy during bite work
- How to teach the “out” through non-reinforcement without any conflict
- How to teach the dog the path to always winning the fight
The fourth lecture is on odor detection. We see many dogs who have a solid understanding of target odor, but who have not been properly proofed off of many different distractor odors. This leads to false indication problems. We also see many dogs that are not taught independent searching, but rather rely on handlers to lead them to the source for “odor confirmation,” rather than true odor detection.
In the odor detection lecture you will learn:
- How to apply the concepts of classical and operant conditioning in teaching correct odor detection work
- The fundamentals of training an odor detector dog based on timing, criteria, and rate of reinforcement
- How to begin odor work as young as 1-day old
- Training tools and techniques to develop accurate and reliable detector dogs
- How to teach dogs to ignore all distractor odors with no punishment
- How to teach a focused Trained Final Response (TFR) with marker training
- How to teach a dog to search a pattern independently of his handler
The fifth lecture is on obedience and shaping behaviors. This lecture will show the students how to use a scientific approach to training.
In the shaping lecture you will learn:
- How to shape new behaviors and how to gain control over behaviors the dog already does
- When to raise your criteria
- How to use a “skinner box”
- Successive approximation
- Back chaining
- Behavior economics
- When to use prompting, or luring
- Fading prompts and lures
- Techniques to improve your timing and reading the animal
During this 5-day course the practical application portion of the class will be as follows:
students will learn how to begin odor detection with a 7-week old puppy. They will teach the puppy to recognize one target odor, perform an accurate TFR, ignore many distractor odors such as food and toys, and perform a consistent search pattern. Students will also work with at least one adult dog during the week in odor detection.
In addition to odor detection, students will learn to shape basic behaviors with young and adult dogs, as well as shaping chickens in color and shape discrimination. Chickens make excellent training models for shaping behaviors due to their speed and the fact that they cannot be trained with force or aversive methods. This will help the student make huge improvements in his timing. The concept of color and shape discrimination with a chicken is very much the same as the concept of odor detection with a dog.
Students will also learn how to safely work a dog in a bite suit, and how to correctly reinforce proper biting technique. They will learn how to teach the dog the way to control the adversary by applying and relieving pressure (stress) at the critical time to communicate to the dog that his behavior controls the fight.