Progress Guaranteed: Never Get Stuck in Your Training Again

We have all experienced situations where our dogs stop making training progress. They do the wrong behavior, they freeze, or they just look at us, disinterested. Eva and Emelie call this, ”getting stuck.” Getting stuck can take many forms, and it isn’t fun or helpful for you or your dog. Can we do anything about it? Absolutely!

Eva and Emelie have created an innovative twist in the training process that can un-stick your dog. When incorporated from the start, this technique will prevent the dog from getting stuck altogether. What’s the secret? Train so that behaviors can be both spontaneous and on cue. At first this may seem paradoxical (spontaneous AND on cue?), but it is not. This idea is the core of training in Scandinavia, where training spontaneously offered behavior is part and parcel of a standard training plan.

This Session will cover:

  • How understanding spontaneous behaviors, prompts, and cues helps you unstick your dog
  • How to use stimulus control, contextual cues, and repetition savviness to your advantage
  • Acknowledging cues and prompts as potent reinforcers
  • Going cueless— how you can work with spontaneous behaviors for foundation training, refinement, and problem-solving (“the Scandinavian way”)
  • Training-session structures for spontaneous behaviors vs. cued or prompted behaviors
  • Transitioning a behavior from being prompted to being offered spontaneously, without the dog being left in limbo and waiting for help
  • Dealing with mistakes within the realm of spontaneous offered behavior
  • Teaching and retraining cues

Please note: This Session was recorded in 2018; content presented in 2019 may vary slightly.  

Eva Bertilsson | Emelie Johnson Vegh

Eva Bertilsson has a master’s degree in behavior analysis and a passion for all things related to behavior, learning, and animal welfare. Always fascinated by the processes of learning and teaching, she grew up with horses, rabbits, and other animals and ventured into dog training in the early 1990s. For many years Eva spent most of her time training and competing in agility, obedience, and other dog sports. Nowadays she focuses mostly on helping others, working as an educator in a wide variety of settings—from puppy classes at the local dog club to husbandry training in zoological settings to seminars for teachers on the science of behavior.

Together with business partner Emelie Johnson Vegh, Eva runs their collaboration Carpe Momentum. Eva and Emelie's goal is to help people acquire knowledge and skills in science-based, modern, humane, and empowering teaching strategies for the benefit of learners of all species. They teach seminars on the general principles of behavior and learning, and coach trainers in the art of structuring great training sessions regardless of the venue or the species. 

“E&E” are the first TAGteach faculty members in Europe, offering consultations and workshops about applying positive reinforcement techniques with human learners in all imaginable areas. The colleagues’ first book, Agility Right from the Start, was published by Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT) in 2010. The book outlines Emelie and Eva’s philosophy and structured approach to training, making it a worthy read not just for agility enthusiasts.

Eva has also been directing a Swedish regional government project aimed at improving behavior management practices in the animal-care industry, with missions ranging from teaching positive reinforcement training to high school students and their teachers, to building a Fear Free veterinary care community in Scandinavia. 

Eva lives in the village Ljungskile, on the west coast of Sweden and north of Gothenburg, but spends much of her time traveling. Border collie Tizla makes sure Eva’s free time is filled with outdoor activities and enriching training projects.

Emelie Johnson Vegh began training dogs as a teenager, after many years of involvement with horses. Her first dog was a mixed breed that competed successfully in both agility and obedience. Emelie's first Border terrier came into her life in 1994; all together she has had three terriers. The Border terriers have been involved in agility primarily, but also in some freestyle and ground work.

In 2009, a Kelpie made an entrance into the family. With her, Emelie is working in rally obedience, obedience, and freestyle, and they also enjoy urban mushing. Emelie and her dogs have won medals at the Swedish Nationals, both as youths and as adults, with a silver team medal as the best placement.

Emelie lives in the very south of Sweden, in the country's third largest city, Malmö. She shares her life with her husband, two sons, a daughter, and Kelpie, Scout. In addition to dog sports, she enjoys training in general, and is very interested in sports psychology, running, multisport, and yoga. Emelie is also an author of fiction novels.