APDT Conference: Day 3.1

It’s Thursday night over here, nearly caught up with the blogging … kind of.

Anyway, I followed the Ken McCort session with one from Virginia Dare titled “Lessons Learned in Prison: Collaborative Training in Pet Prison Programs”. I was expecting a little more from this as I have an interest from the Assistance Dogs Australia who run a pups in prison program. However, it was more a session on training dogs than working in the prison environment, so here are the notes (I didn’t take anything further except for 200-150mg of L-theamine for anxiety) – virginia_broitman_dare_lessons_learned_notes

This session was followed by lunch then Grisha Stewart on “How to Use BAT in a Growly Dog Class”. Now this session was much more captivating.

I haven’t been to previous sessions on BAT so I found this session interesting as Grisha gave an overview of BAT but then went on to detail how she incorporates this into growly dog classes. There was some good video on how she sets sessions up and conducts exercises. Here is a copy of her notes – grisha-stewart-growly-handouts

In very, very short the principle of BAT is to have the reactive dog notice another dog, then defer to the handler without reacting to the target dog. It allows the reactive to get on with its business without crossing over the threshold of too close. If the dog does react, the handler will have to do something to remove the dog out of the forcefield as Grisha described it. As Grisha said, we have a lot of dogs on leash that are reactive because we take away their choices – BAT is designed to give the dog back the choice.

She described four versions of BAT –

  1. Distance and treats for engage
  2. Distance and treats for engage and disengage
  3. Distance for engage and disengage – the preferred
  4. Follow the dog

If using the treats with either version one or two, Grisha recommends moving to version 3 as soon as possible to avoid the reactive dog from falling into a pattern that the exercise is just a trick for a treat.

What I also liked with Grisha’s videos and detail was using a long leash – she ties two leads together. I remember using this system with reactive dogs on a long-line many years before BAT existed in name but it was based on the same principles. What I did was remove the lead from the handler, who stayed with their dog, and I was trailing behind holding the long-lead – I had a lot of success with this.

We then did an exercise in balance, which I can’t really describe properly but it replicated what happens when a dog pulls on the lead and the handler moves forward, what it forms is a ‘V’ as opposed to the ‘I I’ we would prefer to see. If this occurs – Slow-Stop-Rebalance. Slow, don’t slam on the brakes (she said think of slowly putting on the brakes to stop at a set of lights), and make the leash ‘smile’.

Good session followed by Malena DeMartini Price on separation anxiety, which I will probably get around to posting tomorrow as there was quite a bit (and the videos were great).

At the start of the day

At the start of the day

At the end of the day
At the end of the day


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