TAG! Not Just Another Game At Camp

By Karin Coyne and Abigail Curtis DVM, TAGteach Faculty

Twelve teenage girls, twelve dogs, four days and three nights. How does one manage that without yelling, nagging or feeling frustrated? Seven years ago, we started a 4-H dog camp along with another friend. Teenagers and their dogs come to camp and try a variety of activities: agility, obedience, tracking, nosework, flyball, and anything else we can imagine. Teaching the activities is the easy part, but how do you manage that many campers and dogs? TAGteach to the rescue!

The first few years of camp, we attempted to use TAGteach based on what we had been able to pick up on the internet and applying the principles of clicker training to people. It went… okay. There were parts that didn’t seem to work and we had a hard time implementing it. The campers still had a good time, but it simply didn’t work as smoothly as we wanted it to.

We Went to a TAGteach Seminar!

Until we went to a seminar. That’s when it all clicked for us. We came out of there simply bursting with ideas. It changed the way we taught, the way we managed campers, and most importantly, it changed the way we THOUGHT.

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How to Motivate and Reinforce Teens at Summer Camp

by Kristen VanNess

Reprinted with permission from the KPCT blog

I’m part of a group that runs a 4-H dog camp each summer called The Ohio 4-H Teen Dog Experience. A group of teens from all parts of Ohio spends several days with their dogs and new friends in an intense dog-training environment. Eleven 4-H’ers and their dogs attended the four-day camp in June, 2009.

Kids come from different areas of the state, and have varied experience levels coming into camp. Some campers are from 4-H clubs that do not even offer obedience or agility, and other campers compete extensively outside of 4-H. Most campers belong to clubs that do not use clicker training. However, all of the campers were enthusiastic about dogs, 4-H, and learning how to be a better dog trainer.

Tagging at camp

For several years, we have worked on ways to reinforce the teens attending the dog experience camp. After attending TAGteach seminars and working hard to strengthen our plans for camp learning, things went even better than we expected this summer.

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TAGteacher Spotlight: Laura VanArendonk Baugh

laura vab circleTen years ago, Laura skipped a clicker training lecture to look in on an introduction to something she’d heard about called TAGteach — and she’s never looked back.

“Shaping human behavior incrementally just makes so much sense. We do it with the animals because it’s easier for them and us both — why not for human student and human teacher?”

Laura has incorporated TAGteach not only into her professional work, for training private clients with Canines In Action, Inc and as faculty with the Karen Pryor Academy, but into her personal life as well — which finds her using TAG principles in organizing costume masquerades, in physical exercise form, in handling a firearm safely and shooting competitively, and in writing and editing. This fall she will tour the Indianapolis library system with Alena VanArendonk, teaching teenagers to dance THRILLER as part of a zombie-themed reading program and sneaking in TAGteach along the way. Check out Laura’s video, The Thrill of Tag…

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