About

Hi, my name is Michael Vorkapich. I am a dog lover. You may wonder why I have a blog.

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As I have grown older, I have come to realize that my dogs are my friends. I like to be around them every day, do amazing things and go to interesting places. I feel that we have a partnership and a working relationship. I do not “force” dogs to do anything. Instead, I prefer that they want to do the things I am asking them to do. If they say “no” then I need to decide if it’s important to me. If it is, then we work through that. If not, then we don’t continue.

I have also discovered that many many people do not see dogs the same way as I do. They see them as things they own or things to be controlled or dominated. I feel that these people don’t really understand dogs. And, if they truly did, then their relationship with their dogs might improve.

I like to hang around with others that share my opinion, who doesn’t? But I find that, in the Agility community, more people feel the same way than don’t.

First, a bit about my experience:

I have had Collies in my family for over 20 years. Starting with a “pet” when I was in my 20s and progressing to Agility, Obedience, Tricks and other fun things. I first started to train dogs in 2003 when we were given a Tricolor Smooth Collie named Charlotte. She was a youngster in search of something to do. If I didn’t give her a job, she was going to make her own!

I started training Charlotte with what are considered “traditional” training methods. Some luring, some rewarding, some corrections. With each successive dog I have tried various methods and determined that I much prefer the attitudes of the dogs trained primarily with positive reinforcement. In 2013 I was introduced to Operant Conditioning and haven’t looked back.

When my daughter was a teenager, I was training my dog in Agility. My daughter had been a member of 4-H but was wanting to also train her dog in Agility. However, none of the local 4-H clubs offered this on more than a casual basis. So we found a club in a city about 45 minutes away that did offer Agility. I was asked to come and watch what was going on so I did. Prior to this, I pretty much stayed away from 4-H as I didn’t really know anything about it. When I got to the meeting, I quickly realized that no one really knew how to teach the dogs anything about Agility. They were just putting out some equipment and throwing the dogs at it. So I got sucked into helping. I would set up a course each meeting and they would run their dogs through it. We would work on the difficult spots.

This eventually evolved into a much larger involvement with 4-H including becoming the leader of the club dog project, taking on Agility at a County and State level, holding workshops for 4-H members and helping to determine the rules that would be used in the state.

I also volunteer with the largest Agility club in the local area and with two Collie breed clubs. I help to organize trials, demos, fun matches, etc.

I am an avid reader, listener and watcher. I absorb all I can about Positive Reinforcement training. Blogs, videos, websites, podcasts and books. I prefer Karen Pryor over Kyra Sundance. I prefer Denise Fenzi over Victoria Stillwell. But I like them all in some way. I stay away from Cesar Millan and Leerburg.

My dogs have titles in many things. But no Championship titles. I get bored with what we are learning well before then. I get bored with just repeating the same things over and over again. 20 double Q’s for a MACH? Why doesn’t AKC have Snooker? Now that’s my kind of game! (Agility references).

Here is what I am not. At least not yet:

  • I am not a professional dog trainer. But I am a CGC evaluator.
  • I do not have a training facility or work for anyone to teach people how to train their dogs.
  • I do not train dogs for others for pay.
  • I am not perfect. I make many mistakes.
  • I am not yet the person my dog thinks I am. But I’m working on it.

So why should you pay attention to what I have to say?

Good question. It’s because I’m passionate about dogs and dog training. I will treat you like a friend. I will strive to post helpful articles and have great discussions. Things I write will not always be great or helpful. They may not always be about dogs. But they will always be interesting.

7 thoughts on “About

  1. WOW! Well, that was interesting to see your interpretation regarding dog sports and activities….and the list of Who’s Who was an interesting take, because, like you say, there are THOUSANDS of people out there who have hung a shingle as an “expert”. Unfortunately there is no school with diplomas for most of these sports. Just because a person knowledgeable about a subject does NOT mean the person teaches well. Teaching, like any other skill, needs to be honed and improved as time goes on. I especially like your general philosophy and look forward to whatever else you have on the horizon. Thanks for sharing.

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