Sunday, August 22, 2010

Go! Go! Go!

SUMMARY: Personal training part 2: Working on Boost's bar knocking, refusals, and go on.
Continuing my notes on our Tuesday lesson with Nancy.

Go on

We're pretty sure that a lot of Boost's issues are that she's checking back in with me rather than thinking about what obstacle to take next while keeping me in her peripheral vision. Because that's what a superfast dog does; can't be waiting for the handler to be next to her to tell her what to do--that slows her way down and is prone to making her jump with the wrong lead, for example, and it can snowball from there.

So we worked on go-ons: Dog going full speed ahead over jumps in front of her while you're probably behind her. Because she's fast, and you're not.

  • Can work with a toy on the ground beyond the last jump. Release the dog and say "go!" or "go on!" while racing to try to be the first one to the toy. Mix it up with just taking a step forward to send.
  • DO NOT STOP when the dog gets the toy; you want to meet her at the toy and play there; otherwise, you're reinforcing the dog to turn back to you (for play reward), which is what you're trying to extinguish.
  • Do more work with a thrown toy, so that the dog is learning to drive forward even if there isn't a lure on the ground (there won't be one in the ring). In that case, you must throw the toy ahead of the dog at the end BEFORE she has a chance to turn back to look at you. Even better, have someone else throw it.
  • If I have to slow down, try to do it at a point where I can again pick up speed to drive her to the next jump.
  • To get the dog to go, rev her up, like with hand in collar; don't spend time getting her to heel and sit at your side because that makes her look up at you more. Don't send until she's looking at the obstacle rather than at you. Remember to send by stepping forward with the foot closest to the dog.
  • To work longer sequences, sit stay is fine while you lead out.
  • If she runs past a jump or refuses it, I must fix it immediately (in training at least), bring her back right to that jump ASAP and make her take it.

Rear crosses and go-ons:

  • We have some issues with rear crosses, too. Take a step forward towards the same side of the jump you're on, with leg closest to dog, and send; if you're not moving, she should turn back towards you on the side you're on. Toss the toy next to the jump if she turns in the correct direction. No toy if she's changing lead to go to the other side or if she knocks the bar.
  • For rear cross, rev her up and cross quickly, and if she turns the correct way, toss the toy on the ground next to the jump on the side she's turning to.

Wrap-up

Huh, those notes sound so simple--we'll see how good I am at following up on all of this.

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