It’s December! It’s almost Christmas! Why not put “Tuition for a Peaceable Paws Class or Training Program” at the top of your wish list for yourself – or for your dog-loving family members and friends?
I always feel a little drained by the end of a Peaceable Paws year, what with our half-dozen week-long academies, multiple 1-3 day workshops, out-of-town seminars, weekly group classes, articles to write, private consults, a couple of dozen articles, sometimes a book, and more. Fortunately things grind to a halt in early December. My assistant, Shirley and I have a month to recharge before classes begin again in January, and a whole four months before the heavy academy season starts up again in April. This gives us time to catch up on website changes, dig out from beneath the embarrassingly deep piles of paperwork in my office that need filing, and make plans for the coming year.
This month I was feeling particularly in need of new-year inspiration. I was looking for something that would freshen up our class offerings, and inspire our pet dog clients to get as excited as we are about the concept of training as a lifetime relationship with their dogs rather than as a seven-week basic good manners class to complete.
In conversation with Katie Ervin, PPaws trainer and owner of her own pet-sitting business, 4-Legged Friends, we came up with the idea of Peaceable Paws Performance Titles as a way of acknowledging and reinforcing a commitment to ongoing training – and fun – for our clients. I thought about it. I loved it. And so – it’s happening!
All the PPaws trainers are meeting tomorrow here at the training center for a holiday pot-luck, canine playtime and brainstorming session, but here are some of my thoughts on the project so far. (Bear in mind these are preliminary thoughts, to be developed and fleshed out with the input of the rest of the crew.) I’m just so excited about the concept I can’t keep it to myself; I have to share.
Peaceable Paws Performance Titles
We will alternate one Friday night each month (first Friday or every month) between My Dog Can Do That and K9 Games Night so people can earn points toward their championships. We will have one Saturday afternoon each month where people can come and test for the other titles. When we have enough people with Level 1 titles, we can add more levels. We may also offer a “Versatility Champion Title (PPVCH)” for dogs who title in 4 of the 8 events, and a Versatility Champion Excellent (PPVCH-X) for dogs who title in all 8. There will be some cost for each of the events, to cover administrative costs such as certificates and such, but it won’t be prohibitive.
1. PPaws Good Manners Dog (PPGMD-I)
Dog and handler perform 10 Good Manners behaviors (similar to a CGC test, but with some differences):
1. Respond quickly to spoken name, three times, with distractions
2. Walk politely on leash with other dogs and people in the room, sitting when handler stops
3. Greet another person by sitting politely when approached
4. Lie down on verbal cue
5. Drop a valuable object on verbal “Trade” cue
6. Walk past a “Temptation Alley” using “Leave it” cue
7. Wait as food bowl is placed on the ground, until given permission to eat
8. Come happily when called from across the room
9. Target three times to hand or object in different locations
10. Perform a trick from list provided – owner’s choice.
Each skill is worth 10 points; must score a minimum of 5 to pass each skill and a earn a minimum of 70 points overall to earn the title.
2. PPaws My Dog Can Do That Champion (PPMDCDT-CH)
Requires 100 MDCDT Game Points to attain Champion title.
a.) 10 Points for winning a PPaws MDCDT Game, plus one point for every dog outscored
b.) 5 points for coming in second, plus a half-point for every dog outscored
c.) 2 points for coming in third
3. PPaws Games Dog (PPGD-CH)
Requires 100 Game points to attain Champion title. Games include Tennis Ball Catch, Treat Toss, Bobbing for Hotdogs, Musical Sits and Downs, Find it, Simon Says, and more.
a) 5 Points for winning any PPaws Game (3 games per competition), plus one point for every dog outscored
b) 3 points for coming in second, plus a half-point for every dog outscored
c) 1 point for coming in third
4. PPaws Scent Dog (PPSD-I)
Perform 5 scent-test challenges:
a.) Dog watches owner hide 3 treats; finds all three within 60 seconds
b.) Dog out-of-sight while owner hides 3 treats; finds all three within 5 minutes
c.) Dog-and-owner out of sight while tester hides 3 treats; finds all three within 10 minutes
d.) Dog indicates treat in 1 container out of 5; points off for false indications
e.) Dog indicates non-treat scent in 1 container out of 5; points off for false indications
Each test worth 20 points; must score a minimum of 10 on each test, and a minimum of 70 overall to pass.
5. PPaws Trick Dog (PPTD-I)
Perform 10 tricks from Basic Tricks list provided by PPaws; score 70 or better on each trick. Judged on responsiveness to cue (absence of latency or repeated cues), quality of trick performance, complexity of trick, positive attitude of dog and handler.
6. PPaws Canine Drive Ball Dog (PPCDBD-I)
Herd 8 exercise balls into a goal within 15 minutes. Bonus and penalty points for various performance details.
7. PPaws Dancing Dog (PPDD-I)
Perform a 3-minute routine with dog, set to music. Routine may be on or off leash; if on leash, the presence of the leash must not interfere with the flow of the routine. More rules to come.
8. PPaws Interactive Toy Dog (PPITD-I)
I haven’t thought through the details for this – but it would involve solving several of the Nina Ottosson Zooactive puzzle toys to some standard – perhaps a times event. The more difficult toys would be worth more points.
By The Way
Our 2011 Academies and Workshops are up on the website, as is our 2011 Winter/Spring Class schedule. We’re offering Nose Games again; Treibball (Drive Ball) for the first time ever; Intro to Rally; Intro to Canine Freestyle, My Dog Can Do That (get the leg up on the competition for you MDCDT Championship!) and Really Reliable Recall, in addition to our Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Good Manners Classes.
Come play with us!!
Jingle Woofs and Happy Howl-idays
PS: We currently have two openings in our PPaws Apprentice Program. The program requires a commitment of one night per week assisting with classes, and hours in a variety of other training areas including shelter dog assessments, observing private consults, and more. Contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.