Friday, 11 November 2011

interview with a dog trainer: Olga Nylec

The dog trainer this month is Olga Nylec , she's from Poland. Olga is a very interesting person , who tries to spread , in the best way , the dog sports in her city and in her country. She's the founder of the PSIOK dog school which organizes events and dog trainings from obedience to agility , passing to canicross and recently decided to take the way of rally obedience. Read below this legendary interview.

Olga Nylec and some warm up questions...

When Was the Last Time You Cleaned Your Computer?
2 weeks ago:) - (that the good one)

what was your first car ?
Peugeot 206

Have you ever fallen asleep after the alarm clock ?
Yes but just few times:)

Ok , I think is enough , let's be more serious begin with the interview
Could you tell our readers a little about yourself...
My name is Olga. I came from Poland, Gdansk.
My first dog was a tiny mixed-breed dog, it was enormously difficult to persuade my dad to get me a dog (at that time my mom was already dead) so I had to tell a white lie. Everything was planned, I was waiting till Christmas because I wanted to create a kind of blissful atmosphere. I went to the neartst market and bought a puppy. After that I came back home and told my dad a terrible story of a man who threw a bag of puppies to the pond. Of course it was me and my friend who saved them from close death. My dad obviously didn't believe in my story and ensured me the dog must disappear after Christmas. But Karo was incredibly cheerful and polite that after a few days dad began playing with him so I knew he was going to stay with us. And what was done was done!

How did you get started in dog training?
Since I remember I've always dreamed about working with dogs. My first dog was well brought up, anytime I walked him I was asked how it was possible he was so obedient. I advised my colleagues how to bring up their dogs and then my chocolate labrador retriever whose name is Lebron appeared. And everything started from this point, we worked a lot since he was 8 weeks old, we played a lot and I've got a lovely photo when he brings my my slippers at the age of 12 weeks. Anytime I mislay them somewhere, he is ready to help me and finds them without any hesitation.
Then I met some man whose name was Sebastian who invited me to rescue dogs' trainings, which I'm very grateful for. I was keen on working on obedience and tracking. I started going into this matter, how the dogs learn and I graduated from one-year dog training school and this is how it all began. Now I attend varius seminars trying to gain more and more knowledge, learning from the best.
What training techniques do you use when training your dogs?

I train dogs according to the Natural Method which I find very friendly for dogs and their owners. I also work with a clicker. I use the Natural method or Clicker Method with my dog, sometimes I use both of them. It depends which one is easier for my dog in a specific situation. The Natural Method is a positive reinforcing which means reinforcement of good behaviour and ignoring the improper one. While training we help the dog by showing him what to do or to direct him to the proper position (you do not touch the dog by showing), we name it and as fast as possible we give the snack or play with the dog. The reward depends on the dog, what he likes, what gives him the best reward. The most important thing is not to punish the dog and say the command exactly at the time of doing it. So I don't say SIT when he is just standing. It's the same with learning a foreign language in the country where nobody speaks your language. It's worth considering 
We know what the Clicker Method is, combining the two methods means directing the dog to the position and clicking when the dog is already in the eagered position, of course we give the snack as a reward.

You are the founder of the Club PSIOK. What it's all about? Tell us all about your program.
At the beginning it was supposed to be an obedience and agility school, but later obedience at ease and tracking became my passion, in fact we should change our logo
Traditional obedience is very stiff and not for everybody, one must have a strong determination and train a lot with the dog.
Our school provides sniffing classes where all the dogs relax and get tired and at the same time build a fantastic commitment with their owner.
We concentrate on tracking people and objects. Dogs work using down or up wind, or both if it is more convenient for them.
To hold the connection the dog works on the long leash, I put the emphasis on making owners realize that this time the dog takes them into his world entirely unknown by people – the world of scents.
If I have any sceptic in my group I 'accidentally' lose something and send my dog to find it. It always work and such people look at their dogs in a quite different way, then I show them how well their dog can work. I don't conceal, it give me an enormous pleasure!
I also organise sniffing games such as looking for snacks in the carton box full of newspapers or in the grass, I bring jars filled with scents of other animals. It is fascinating to watch the dogs showing emotions while sniffing, how they react, I had a bitch once ZULA, which approached the jar full of my dog's scent. ZULA and LEBRON like each other very much but haven't seen for almost a year. Having smelt the jar she started wagging her tail – it was amazing!

I discovered rally-o about a year and a half ago – which is obedience at ease and introduced it to my school. Together with few frinds we found organization Rally-O and we are going to promote it in Poland. You can read more on but the web is only in polish.
Does the Club PSIOK also organize seminars or competitions?
Last year I organised dogtrekking competition, but not typical, because we included the elements of obedience and tracking, which all the participants enjoyed.
Now with a group of keen dog-owners I organise Pomeranian Dogtrekking Cup – we've just organised the first competition, the next one will take place on 6th November. We organise it as an Association because of the high rank of the Cup.

What are the three most common reasons dog owners come to you?
The main problem the owners have are dogs getting into mischief, dogs demolishing things and flats etc
The other reason is: 'my dog is not listenining to me!', doesn't come when I'm calling him or runs away.
I make them realise why it happens and how to deal with it.

Which training(s) are most requested by your clients?
Mostly they care about general obedience and agility. More and more people ask what the 'dogs' prechool' is. My passion for tracking becomes contagious with time.
Could you explain a little more about puppy socialization and why it is so important? 
The period of puppies' socialization begins when they are about 3 weeks and lasts till they are about 3 months old. At this most important period the puppy needs to learn selfcontrol, communication with other dogs and people, hierarchy rules. We divide this period into two.
Attraction phase which lasts from 3 up to 12 weeks which has its maximum when the puppy is 5 weeks old. At this time puppy is attracted by everything what is new and unknown. Puppies are not afraid and accept everything and are incredibly curious.
Aversion phase (moving back, running away and fear) lasts since they are 5 weeks up to 12. It has its maximum at the age of 7 weeks. Both phases overlapping is called sensitive phase.
The best period for socialization is between 3 and 7 week. That's why it depends so much on the breeder, because at that time our future puppy is in his/her hands. When the puppy arrives to our house, we need to care about further socialization, to build up its courage and opening with the unknown. It's worth going to the 'dogs' pre-school'. A good one will have especially puppy-prepared obstacles, safe obstacle course (moving surfaces, different surfaces), variuos 'strange' objects such as prams, wheelchairs, strangely dressed people (coats and hats), running children. We can arrange such situations on our own, but we should remember not to make our puppy do anything if it is afraid.

Yours top five favorite dog trainers / competitiors ever?
I love Milan Hoyer, I'm keen on his calmness and sort of peacefulness. I'd like to follow his example and be like him in my everyday life – till now I manage to do it while working with dogs tracking.
Turid Ruugas for her unbelievable knowledge, I think she is the best expert in the world on dogs' body language – I still have a long way to keep up wtih her.
Raili Halme - I had a real pleasure to participate in a few of her workshops, I like her approach towards dogs, which is turned for making the dogs' life more various.
I like Inki Sjosten – I met her in person, although our working techniques differ a lot, I like what she does while working with tracking dogs.

What new projects are you working on?
I've been working on introducing Rally – O to Poland. I hope it will become as succesful as in the USA. I'd like the children, youth, adults, disabled, average dogs' owners to take part in Rally – O competition. I care about promoting Rally – O so as it wouldn't become traditional obedience. I want Rally to be an introduction into traditional obedience according to the guidelines of its author Kramer.

3 things that you can't live without?
I can't live without my dog, I'm not saying it because the main subject of this interview is DOGS. Spending time with him makes me feel pleased and always cheers me up. I can complain and he won't assess me. I'll hug him, stroke and he brings my inner peace of mind back. My husband had better not read it who is already a bit jealous of him.
Despite living at the seaside I can't imagine without the surrounding forest, hopefully we have a lot of forests nearby.
The third thing is my car, which gives me freedom of travelling.


the photos are a courtesy of Olga Nylec

short demonstration / Krótki pokaz Gdynia
by psiok1

dog tricks at the PSIOK dog school
by psiok1


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