|Max at the Monroe Trial, June 2010|
Be careful in your actions what behavior you are rewarding. If D makes a mistake and you pat him on the head and say "That's okay", you are rewarding the mistake. That's no favor to D. When D is barking and you pick him up to soothe and quiet him, you are encouraging barking. When D knocks a bar and you keep on running with him because you are "running sequences" or "building drive", you are saying a knocked bar is no big deal to me (even though it will disqualify you from your run). You are still ready to play even if D screws up. This is a big NO NO in my opinion, and some of the best dog trainers agree.
From Susan Garret's Podcast, I got a confirmation of my own observations:
All the time in classes, I see people rewarding their dogs for mistakes. D knocks a bar at 5, H keeps on running the sequence to 7, then treats D for his good 2-on-2-off contact at 7. Yes the contact deserves a reward, but you shouldn't give it because you are also rewarding a mistake at 5. Some say stopping at 5 demotivates the dog, kills drive, others that it quickly teaches them to pick up their feet so you can move on to other skills. I'm still observing, but leaning towards the latter.
Dogs think in Black and White. No gray zones.