My training protocols are like Lego blocks, which we all played with as children: they come in different sizes, shapes, and colors, and everything can be connected. With some imagination and skill, you can put the Lego bricks together and build whatever you want: from a small car to a Lego house to an entire Lego city with airplanes.
In animal training, I build chains of behavior like you build with Lego bricks. The example of building a house also helps us in animal training: you can only put a roof on it once the walls are finished, and the walls can only be built once the foundations are laid. Also, you must remember that before you pour concrete on the floor, you must call electricians, plumbing, and heating contractors. Because if you have yet to lay the pipes and wiring beforehand it will be later, once the concrete has hardened, too late for that. If you have to pry open the base plate again at one point because you forgot a line, you can damage or weaken the entire foundation.
House building and animal training, therefore, both start with a plan. When we built our first houses with Lego back in childhood, we always started with a base plate on which we could place all the elements we had already assembled or prepared. Our fantasy world came true, and we could build in three dimensions thanks to the base plate. Suddenly it was no longer evident to other children what we had created, and they could play along in a role that they liked. You could be a police officer, a pilot, or a fireman in our Lego city. The big picture no longer existed only in our heads but became apparent to others. Also, here is the parallel with animal training. At first, we start training alone with our dog in the safe environment of our house, our backyard, or a private training place. After a while, we will present ourselves as a combination of the world around us. In the dog training club, a contest, or in the real operational world like police, military, customs, bedbug, wildlife, medical detection, or whatever job we do with our dogs. We need to be ready then, feel comfortable and be able to rely on our strong fundament and well-conditioned behaviors.
A strong foundation also means that you know and respect the roles of others that are necessary for the job. We understand how much skill, time, effort, and perseverance it took to build from this fantasy world into the real world. A strong foundation is created during the reflection and planning phase and during training. Only then can you act and start the actual construction process.
Training your dog is a similar process; this approach is essential to having a healthy, reliable, and happy dog. It can help ensure that your dog behaves correctly, is safe around other animals and people, and is a well-mannered family member. As with any training, it is crucial to use criteria when training your dog. Criteria is a set of rules or guidelines you should follow when training your dog. These criteria can be anything from basic commands, detection of odors, how to deal with distractions, or to more complex behaviors. When using criteria, you are setting your dog up for success by allowing your dog to learn the behaviors you expect in a consistent and organized way. It also helps your dog to understand the consequences of not following the criteria. When using criteria to train your dog, it is important to take small steps to reach your training goals. This will help your dog understand the criteria more easily and will make it easier for them to master the behaviors you are asking for. Taking small steps also allows you to make sure that your dog is responding positively to the training. This will lead to a good understanding of what you are asking your dog to do.
Innovative and high-quality training products are also important when training your dog. These products can help you ensure that your dog is learning the criteria in a safe, effective, and for detection dogs in a ‘clean’ way. They can also provide a fun and engaging way for your dog to learn. Using interactive scent wheels, treat dispensers, odor boxes, line-ups, and odor delivery devices can help keep training interesting and exciting for your dog. Using high-quality and innovative training products will help ensure your dog learns the best way! These products will help you take the small steps to reach your training goals.
During my workshops, I focus on teaching trainers the importance of these small steps by helping them to design their training plans with clear criteria. Helping them to collect training data and to analyze this. I will show examples of these so-called building blocks, a series of specific behaviors. With strong conditioning behaviors, it’s easy to build those strong chains of behaviors fast to perform complex tasks. On top of this, I add 25 years of operational experience from special forces. This real-life experience brought me to start Simon Prins ACT! All my work is based on science and built on classical and operant conditioning principles. I have always loved creating special equipment to train dogs and trainers more effectively and efficiently. You will find many beautiful and efficient products in my online shop. I love to use these products to ensure dogs and trainers benefit from a positive training approach.
On those pages, there is a ton of training information; you will find more blogs and innovative K9 training products that will help you to bring your detection training to the next level. On my website, you also will find a lot more information that will challenge and inspire you as a trainer. And if you want to know more, read my book, the Pavlov Projekt. It’s released in German and will be available in English in Spring 2023. Check out my newest products, like the Odor Detection Boxes or the Odor Imprint & ORT sets. If you are looking for other products or specific information to help you reach your goals or next level in training, don’t hesitate to contact me! Stay safe out there, enjoy trading and be happy!
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