From Narcotics K9 to Nosework K9 with Holly Bushard: Interview & Reflections Part 2



Today, Crystal, Stacy, and Robin dive into part two of a reflection on their interview with Holly Bushard, playing back clips from the best moments in their conversation and expanding on them. Holly breaks down the difficulties of trialing with non-traditional breeds, as she does with Whippets. “Love what your dog is, and accept that it won’t be what it isn’t,” she advises. Stacy shares the difficulties of her 11-year-old miniature American Shepherd. They discuss how selecting a dog to focus helps build a maintenance cycle rather than teaching a training cycle, which leads into a conversation around the myth of multi-tasking. They expand upon Holly’s ideas about creativity in training, with Robin highlighting the functionality of progression plans and adjusting them to cater to different dogs. The trio then delves into the ways in which comparison can be a hindrance and where it can be useful.

Holly introduces the subject of overhandling, pointing to the biggest mistakes she’s seen. Stacy touches on her mistakes with overhandling, like crowding her dog. Robin notes that overhandling can happen just as easily off leash as it can on leash. They explore the benefits of using a flexi leash in certain situations. Crystal introduces an exploration into why people over-handle, such as the nerves of competition.

They then revisit a clip from their conversation with Holly where she explains how she builds little drills as a method of problem solving. She explains how her techniques help keep the dog engaged, emphasizing “attitude first.” Crystal, Stacy, and Robin discuss their own experiences as they relate to attitude, or mood management; “I feel like my teenagers are just like my dogs. I have to have them in this positive, happy attitude that's in the right amount of focus and the right amount of drive to want to do the thing.” Holly outlines how she uses a dog’s innate abilities, like predation, in training. They discuss the importance of understanding what your dog is working for, or what their “paycheck” is, and building trust within that contract.

Key Topics:

  • Trialing with non-traditional breeds (1:17)

  • Adjusting to different dogs (3:56)

  • Adjusting training cycles (7:18)

  • The myth of multi-tasking (11:32)

  • Creativity in training (16:32)

  • The pros and cons of comparison (22:17)

  • Overhandling (28:15)

  • Flexi leashes (37:53)

  • Why people overhandle (41:55)

  • Building little drills (49:50)

  • Using a dog’s innate abilities (1:05:44)

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