I’m taking Silvia Trkman’s excellent puppy/tricks class for shaping accountability and fun.1

One of the first tricks we teach: 4 in! I am starting with a big box and will be working all the way down to a small bowl over the course of the next weeks.

My thoughts about these sessions will mostly be in the subtitles.

July 7, 2023: our very first session with a large-ish cardboard box

I’ll show you my real sessions – wins, mistakes, good decisions and not so good ones, good mechanics and not so good ones … this is what real training looks like. It doesn’t need to be perfect but it sure should be fun!

July 8: 4 in a box from different angles!

The pride flag? Yep, it’s big. It’s the one I bought at CDMX Pride to wear as a cape. My philosophy is to either use things or give them away/throw them out. That way, I don’t accumulate stuff I don’t need. So I turned the flag into wall art, i.e. it’s being used now. Shrug.

July 14, 2023: going down in box size!

Our second puzzle-box session of the day

July 16, 2023: my first compilation of going down in box/bowl size

I videoed all these steps but didn’t edit all of them – today, I turned them into compilation #1:

July 20, 2023: from bowl #2 to bowl #3 (there will be 6 bowls altogether)

We went from bowl #2 down to bowl #3! This is difficult and Chai is being a superstar!

July 22, 2023: starting with bowl #3 right away

July 23, 2023: first 4 in bowl #3 session of the day

Second 4 in bowl #3 session of the day: 4 in with room service marker (“Good”) for building duration

July 24, 2023: the training journey continues

Part 2 of our 4-in journey coming soon! As with my other series, I’ll try to not put more than 10 videos in a single post in order to not break the Internet.

  1. 10/10 would recommend this class for advanced trainers. It is denser and requires more self-discipline and previous knowledge on the student’s part than many FDSA classes, which is why it may not make the best choice for absolute beginners. You can’t be too advanced for the class though: Silvia has extra material for dogs who already know some of the tricks and there is little chance you will run out of things to train and creative variations on behaviors your dog already knows.

    Silvia is lovely and supportive in their feedback, flexible about students’ idiosyncratic training approaches (such as the fact that I use multiple marker cues) and generous with their time. Their student community is the most international I have come across in any online dog training organization so far. I very much appreciate all of the above in online learning.

    I am a student who tells my mentors and teachers how I would like to learn/how I learn best, and Silvia has done an excellent job adapting to me. This is a skill I value in the people I learn from and the second part of the reason I’d very much recommend this class. It’s a fantastic primer for future sports puppies as well as a great choice for non-competitive training geeks in search of fun and inspiration. You can take it with an older dog as well – anything goes! ↩︎

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