Features May 2011 Issue

An Observation Technique That Will Improve Your Dog Training

Nancy Tanner was inspired by a marine mammal training technique to develop “Observation Without Direction.” Essentially, it’s taking a dog to a special “free” space and allowing him to do whatever he wants to do – and then using what you learn about him for a better relationship.

An Observation Technique That Will Improve Your Dog Training

“Observation Without Direction” –The power of “free-time training.”

How well do you really know your dog? Like most trainers and competitors, Nancy Tanner of Bozeman, Montana, assumed she knew hers inside out – until some whales and their trainers taught her an important lesson. You too can adopt the simple technique she learned at a marine mammal park to improve canine interactions at all levels. Tanner’s path of discovery began five years ago at Sea World in San Diego, California, where she took a behind-the-scenes tour. What caught Tanner’s attention was the whales’ “free-time pool.” In this large, safe, comfortable environment, whales do whatever they like. Sometimes the pool is occupied by a single whale and sometimes by two or more. Trainers are always present but they never initiate activity. They simply watch and wait.

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