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Concept Training - what is it?

Every dog has a brain. Within each brain there are building blocks (or concepts) which dictate how the brain will respond to situations. Your dog's strengths or weaknesses (i.e. their personality) will determine how they react.

Let's look at an example ... a kelpie who disengages from his flock of sheep is not much use to a farmer, however a kelpie that can disengage from sheep in a paddock during his morning walk would be considered a great companion. It is important to recognise that a dog's personality may not match the situation they find themselves in.

This is where concept training comes in ... instead of trying to change a behaviour IN a situation, we reshape the brain OUTSIDE the situation so that when a dog is presented with the same situation, they are better equipped and have the skills to make a better choice. The herding dog will play games to build FOCUS so when he goes out to herd his sheep, he remains engaged on his task. Similarly, a dog who reacts to sheep in a paddock on their morning walk will play games that build DISENGAGEMENT. It's important to remember that although both these dogs have struggles, they have strengths too - the herding dog may have amazing GRIT and FLEXIBILITY which are just as important as FOCUS.

'Every dog owning struggle is driven by certain skills/concepts, or more accurately, by lack of certain skills/concepts' -Absolute Dogs-

The great thing about concepts is that they are changeable however, this means as owners we need to actively build and grow the concepts our dog needs. If not, the environment will do it for us.

How do we grow concepts? We play GAMES!

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