April's (2016) Canine Survivor Month with John Rogerson and his co-trainer Miya Gao
John Rogerson' NZ Tour Facebook Page
Tales from the other side
Following Natalie attending the Association of Dog Trainers Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and her enthusiasm for attending John Rogerson's 20-day training and Canine Scene Intelligence course in India, both Blair and Natalie made the commitment to go and learn more.
John's teaching style, wisdom, authority and demonstrable success won us over. Many of these attributes we pass on to our clients. But that got us thinking ...why not bring John here and help lift the game for creating fun ways of training dogs.
Building on John's keynote and demonstrations at the 2015 APDTNZ conference, we commenced 'the plan' to get him here for CSI Survivor and more. And what fun it has been. It all started when John and Miya arrived and spent a couple of days at our bach R&R'ing after their long trip. Miya Gao, eminent trainer from Beijing, almost didn't come because of Visa issues but everything worked out at the last minute!
April scared us... Doing lots of outdoor stuff, what would happen with the autumn weather? We were blessed, unbelievably the whole month was sunny, and the temperature was above average. We are still smiling.
Clean Boot Tracking
Clean Boot Tracking held in the Red Zone (just the perfect place, say's John) had novicedogs and handlers tracking 'a runner' (thanks to a few spare auditors) over open ground, over roads, past distractions (including a drone!), onlookers and other dogs over 400m to find and identify their quarry. All in just two days training!
Four days followed with our professional development (read: intensive, but entertainingly delivered) seminar series on Reactive Dog and Angels and Demons in which we were joined by two Californian trainers out here for the CSI/Survivor event. John's contribution to the social milieu surrounding recent dog bites was timely with television, radio opportunity to espouse his leading recommendation: 'education'. Not just for dog owners but for policy folks as well.
Then came CSI/Survivor! Held at the WAINUI YMCA. Dogs in the camp, a first for them too. It went swimmingly. Two teams of seven dogs each embraced John's rapid teaching. No coffee breaks for this guy! We were joined by another Chinese nationaland her Beagle which proved valuable later on. Even during the training phase, handlers became 'astute observers' as cryptic clues appeared, some dogs finding vital survival stuff for later, and of course the inevitable red herrings. That was to discover "who" it was murdered. Phone a friend was allowed and they did.
Then things got really challenging!
Each team had to cook a prize winning meal to also earn clues. There was a chance to win $10,000 dollars in this too. The trouble was, all the ingredients were hidden all over two separate locations and each team had to locate everything while blindfolded. They had to trust their dog's nose and their teammates direction. What couldn't be located would be scavenged by the other team, blindfolds off, adding to their ingredient options. We got the YMCA Camp Chef to impartially judge. He deserves a mention as the Camp buffet's were utterly excellent, hmmmm Pork Belly and Pav! (vegetarian options on offer too!) Who won? Both teams turned out a multi course taste treat but Team Two took the clue.
Well done ALL the Dogs. The answer to whom was murdered BTW, was 'Bic Runga". Get the Chinese connection?. Everybody Won! The Beagle slept for three days afterwards.
Facebook images here
Lastly, it was the challenging 3 days Ultimate Recall held at the Canterbury German Shepherds Club facility. A perfect venue and perfect weather, again! OK, so John' technique of proofing your dogs recall requires "fluffy handcuffs". Sounds weird huh? Owners were handcuffs in their fully cuffs, and guess who had the key?
After three days of training 'control and... ', all of the dogs participating did their recall, blind, owner over 250m away. At full speed. The key to the Fluffy Cuffs was on their dog's collar. Their dog HAD to come to you. That was the graduation test! No key, No certificate! We did promise that if you were still there in a week we would bring gruel! Thankfully every dog's owner had passed the test!
Thanks go to John and Miya's fabulous input, and all the dogs, handlers, auditors and other contributors. It has been a great inaugural success and with ideas learned here. We are enthusiastically looking forward to doing it all again next year. We have more fun and innovative ideas up our sleeve. All will be revealed in time.
With so many folk wanting to do it all again. Those who missed out this year will have to watch for the early bird offers on our opt-in monthly newsletter, it will sell out again. Perhaps a North Island venue? Maybe a twenty day "certified' course? In Vietnam anyone? All ideas are on the table.
Loads of Pictures and Movie vignettes; (we'll keep you posted-- but check our Facebook page for more pictures
'Vimeo as seen on Freeview's Channel 50
What the participants said Clean Boot Tracking:
The greatest benefit was:
"learning how motivating it is to have a tracklayer at the end of the course" "giving my dog extra skills", "learning to work with my dog", "learning the different stages of the process", "learning what my dog does when she loses her scent", "Confidence to train accurately. Also, the training is repeatable and it works!", "learning about not relying on food as a motivator", "connect with my dog", "talks and how its explained. Having the time to put it into practice."
Some people wanted less dogs on the course and more feedback from instructors which means that next year, we'll have to offer this course over 3 days !!
What participants said about the Class Seminars
What I liked most of the seminar was:
" John gave so much information and in a way that was easy to understand and made you think", "inspired me to want to learn so much more and do more", "John's barking demo's", "John was easy to understand and kept my attention" , "It actually needs to be longer", "in depth, easy and clear, lots of experience shared by John", "informative, changed my way of thinking about approaching behaviour change" , "new enthusiasm, new focus" , "breath of info, motivation" , "hearing a different view on dog training and puppy rearing" , "loved the links to science, research, history of pet training, cultural aspects"," making me think"
CSI Survivor -- We video participants in order to make a little movie about our experience. This will take time to put together..
One participant said "I want to do this every weekend!" , "can't wait for next year and do it all over again", "sign me up, you look you are having so much fun"
What participants said about Ultimate Recall
What participants like most about the course: (please note that most people didn't have time to fill it out!)
"personal approach" , "the relationship that has reformed with my dog" , "the confidence it has given me. John demonstrating with real dogs." , the ease of training and explanations to achieve success" , "hands on stuff, challenging, informative/ non confrontational training" , learning to teach to other people (auditor)" , "good balance of hands on approach and information' , "learning a different approach to training dogs" , "my dog CAN come back to me" , "giving me more confidence in my dog"
Many people throughout the course commented about the lack of notes, and/or videos because there was just so much information. I told John this, and he said that not one approach works with every dog and that if there were notes or hand-outs, it limits your training.
And so... having been to John's lectures and training in India, I know that note taking is paramount and at times, jumbled because he does have so much knowledge to share. The more the month when on, the more I remembered what he said and was able to fill in my 'note gaps!"
I believe that note taking does allow you to look back and devise your own training sessions for your dog. I'm glad that I video-ed people and their dog, and I will share them... I just need time to figure out what is the best way of delivering this.
Thanks John and Miya for coming to Christchurch, New Zealand. You didn't feel the earth beneath your feet. You were one month too late.
I'm so happy that we found you excellent accommodation so that you could have your own time to work on your other bigger projects in Dubai and in China. I would like to thank my friends Gill and Mark who allowed my guests to stay in their 3 bedroom house while they travelled in Europe. I can't guarantee that I can make them disappear next year for you :) HUGE THANK YOU GILL AND MARK !!
Until next year.... now that we have the experience in putting this together, we'll have to 'march' it up to the North Island. Any one think of an utterly great location for these courses? Email us.