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Professional Trainer’s Course: A Weekend Training Retreat

Trainer’s Course

Intensive trainer’s course geared toward advancing skills for both professional trainers and amateurs. Course material will cover learning theory, drive development, temperament evaluations vs assessments, shelter visit, counter conditioning and common behavioral issues discussed (including aggression, fearfulness). Some competition foundations and concepts will be covered in a broad based curriculum. This course will be a mix of classroom lecture as well as hands on with a small, group environment.

-Perfect for the aspiring professional, current professional interested in advancing their skills, as well as shelter workers, rescues, and amateurs
-Intensive hands on and lecture
-Bring up to two dogs
-Maximum of six students
-Certificate of completion
-Students who have completed this course will be eligible for an apprenticeship program
-Quiet, clean indoor facility for lecture and demonstration, outdoor hands on
-Group round table discussions (dinner and drink) at local Williamson county eateries
-Free time allotted for those who would like to hike, swim, kayak, stand up paddle board, or go wine tasting.
-30 minutes to downtown Nashville (Music City!)
-Affordable hotel, bed and breakfast, and camping options nearby

Tuition: $750/weekend (one student and up to two dogs)
Location: Nashville, TN (field work & lecture).

*To register, contact head instructor Tami McLeod at Tami@bajadogtraining.com. A 50% deposit (PayPal Tmacmal@yahoo.com) is due to reserve your spot in this course. Ten percent early registration discount if received before December 30th. Payment may be received in the form of cash, check, credit card or PayPal.

Advanced Drive Development Concepts for Competitive Dog Sports Mini Workshop

Tami will be offering a local one day mini workshop workshop this year on her signature training program, Drive Development and an ADVANCED workshop.  Come learn first hand right here in SoCal the fundamentals of her training program.

-Drive Theory for Dog Sport:  Prey, Play, Pack, Fight, Food

-Building Core Drive

-“Teaching versus Reactionary” State of Mind:  Transitioning between high drive states to thinking and back quickly and effortlessly

-Four Phases of Rewards:  From Luring to Placing the Reward Off the Field

-Motivational Proofing Techniques:  Proofing Isn’t Correcting!

-Advanced “Games” to maintain drive and desire in specific obedience exercises

Lots of lecture, hands on, interactive discussion, lunch, and optional evening round table here in San Diego County.  Enough time in the evening or mornings to enjoy a walk or swim at the beach!



Drivey Dog 101

Specifically designed for those dogs and handlers interested in maximizing their dog’s potential in competitive dog sports including competition obedience, Rally, agility, IPO, and Ringsports. Emphasis placed in nurturing interactive play, event markers, building drive, speed, animation, and advancing to a higher level of proficiency. This is an introductory course designed for those relatively new or just entering the world of dog sports. Learn about the amazing world of competitive dog sports and start your journey. Your path need not be determined, as this course is a foundation course on which other sports can be built.

Class is held outdoors on a beautifully groomed and lighted field.

Four consecutive weeks in duration (45 minutes class)

Prerequisite: a good attitude! Caffeine helps, too! 🙂

Enrollment ends: October 31, 2016

PayPal:  Tmacmal@yahoo.com

Embrace Your “Five”!

Embrace your five! “What is a five?” you might be asking. Well, let me explain.

I teach workshops throughout the US and Canada, and the most frequently requested topic is drive building which I incorporate into my “Drive Development” curriculum. Granted, my “Drive Development” courses involve all facets of drive work, spanning the whole spectrum from very little drive to dogs that are over the top and hard to control.

In a round about sort of way, building drive has become an area of expertise. I don’t always wear that badge overly proudly because it has come with some painful sacrifices, and limited success….at least measurable success. You see, it took twenty years of putting my dues in with dogs that were not high drive. Dogs that needed building, nurturing, threshold raising to work through poor nerve structure. Very few trainers stick with it, and those who are serious about competition opt to cut their losses and locate a more suitable dog. I went through this evolution early on as well, going through dog after to dog to find a dog to keep me in the trial field at a national level, or at minimum regional level in the sport of IPO.

Fortunately, before that phase I put my dues in. Seriously, I earned it with hard work, pulling teeth, blood, sweat and tears. I was making a living titling dogs that really ought not be bred for clients (breeders) who really did not care if their dogs were neither suitable nor enjoying the work. They were tools. A means to bolster their breeding resumes. I look back on that time and sort of cringe. I mean, I contributed to that bit of ridiculousness, getting paid lousy wages for insanely hard work and to compensate for lack of working ability, all so show breeders could sell a litter of pups….for much less than they paid me for months of training. However, being a sunny side kind of chic, I came away with something. Something invaluable that most in the sport nowadays don’t possess which is the ability to take a dog with very little potential and polish into something special to the owner. In fact, most don’t understand why I would waste my time.  At the time, it was fun.  Challenging.

To those new trainers who have yet to put their dues in (but who may be very skilled trainers none the less with sport dogs) and to owners who are struggling with your dog’s capabilities (or limiting factors as it may be), ask yourself what you want to achieve. Do you VALUE high level competition more, or do you VALUE bringing your dog to his/her potential. You can’t have both with the dogs under a “five” (explained in next paragraph). Both perspectives are correct. It is not about being divisive (elitistists vs hobbyists). Quite the contrary. Let me explain.

In my workshops I teach a scale. My brain functions that way. Everything in my little head is in the form of spectrums, scales, graphs and comparisons. It used to be all on feel.  The two together help us develop our craft as trainers.  On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being virtually no drive and 10 being bordering on dangerously volatile, a perfect dog for training for me is around an 8, maybe even a 9 because I like to live dangerously. These are the dogs that you basically don’t have to do any drive building with, and even if you do a mediocre job, they still have reserves in their gas tank. You might knock ’em down to a 7, but they are still strong, motivated dogs by working dog standards. Then you have the 10 dogs. These are the dogs often used for breeding, or who put on an awesome show but can never quite get it together. Not enjoyable by even the most skilled and tenacious handler. The higher you go on the scale, the more WITHHOLDING a stimulus (toy, food, etc.) builds. This could be good or bad in training, because there are other factors in place including nerve structure, ability to focus, and biddability. Five is a magical number. The middle of the road dogs where most of my seminar attendees’ dogs fall at or below. Those who, if the reward is withheld or the criteria increased by just a hair, flatten like pancakes or deflate like old helium balloons a few days after the big party. Those beasts who prance into the ring, and work with twinkle toes and shining eyes in practice, but settle in for long march down field when you hit the center line. Been there….many times. Many, many times.  My first Malinois, Filo, was a five.  That five took me to multiple national championships, Germany, and was the dog who started it all (thanks go out to Augusta Farley for the Malinois that taught me a lot).  He also taught me humility. I had several national level dogs afterward.  He could have been better had I heeded the advice I am giving now; advice I never received.  He could have been MUCH better.

This balance point where withholding can plummet a dog’s drive and confidence lower if not skillfully managed and CONDITIONED is where exasperation and frustration set in. When the concepts of conditioning drive states, multi faceted building through proper play, and resource management are truly understood and you put the HOURS and months in it takes, there is a gold pot at the end of the rainbow. Most give up, get a new dog, or shrug it off like, “Hey, I didn’t really want to compete anyway.” Inwardly, they might be saying, “I love the dog I have and want to go on this journey, but I don’t know how.” Been there, too. In fact, a multi world champion told me to get rid of my “five”. Notable trainers had me going through dog after dog to find that golden goose. The reality is that many coaches VALUE handlers with dogs that make them look good. Naturally!  I think coaches need to be sensitive to the goals of their students and allow them to really determine what the student values.  Also, what the student values is fluid.  It changes over time.  It is part of the training evolution.  Me, I want to train pet dogs for a living truth be known. Send me your pet dog clients so I can pay my bills and I will gladly help you polish up your 3, 5, or 9 dog to the best it can be. I digress.  Back to the story.

It is only after I felt satisfied with my achievements….after that burning desire to “do” something or “achieve” something measurable had been met did I finally put it all together. What is it at this juncture do I VALUE? Once you answer that question then you can embrace your training journey. If you want to compete on a national level, we can’t, as my boyfriend Chris says, “Polish a turd into a diamond.” A little offensive, perhaps , but it is true. I can build drive better than most because I have developed those skills over twenty years of “have to”.  However, even I will tell you that we can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip. We cannot create what is not there. That is unfair to the dog. We can, however, make them the BEST they can be whether it is a 1,5, or 10.  Also, don’t under sell your abilities or your dog’s.  Amazing things can happen.  My “five” was my first national level dog, and my first SchH /IPO III dog.  Recently, I learned that my friend/training collaborator(s) in Nashville OTCH’d his “4” dog and qualified for the National Obedience Championship (with the help of his teammate and co handler).  Another student in New Mexico achieved a motivational obedience retrieve and BH on her “1”.  To a trainer, these are valuable accomplishments.  No more, no less, than making a world team.  It is all in what the handler values and identifying their dog’s realistic potential.

So, put on your rose colored glasses, have a glass of wine, and look on the sunny side of things. What do YOU VALUE? Where does YOUR dog fall on the scale?  Whether it is a BH, OTCH, or IPO world podium placement……..Embrace your “5”!


Happy Training!

-Tami McLeod

Absolute K9 Solutions

Baja Dog Training