Thursday, August 11, 2011

Not Your Every Day Off Course Obstacle

While trialing Schema in Standard, it has become very clear the table has become our biggest off course challenge. It's not something that I naturally look for when I am walking a course - in fact, many times I have not even noticed the table when I am looking at the dog's path while walking a course. Only to find out later, while running her, that she locked onto that obstacle and either got an off course or a very wide turn because of it. I have to actually remember before walking the course to look for the table and see where it might come into play for her.
Schema driving to the table
I did not specifically intend to make the table a highly valued obstacle, but because of transferring my Crate Games training that I've done on her to the table, it has now become one of her favorite obstacles. When I started training Schema, she had very little impulse control. By lacking impulse control, I mean that she was very easily distracted by movement by other dogs. She is still distracted by other dogs, but she works hard to focus on what I want, now. That's because I've developed a communication system with her so she knows she is accountable for her actions (this is an entirely different subject that I could write a long blog on). It is her choice and she rarely now makes the wrong one now because she knows that she won't get to play otherwise.

While transferring her Crate Games to the table, I realized as I increased the distractions that it could be a great way to get more training done with my dogs. By, having them all out  on the table when I am training, I can individually release each of them off to work. Score and Reason were both reinforced and trained to wait on the table until they were released and they both learned to be able to stay there and watch me work the other dogs - a HUGE time saver, as I was able to train 3 dogs at the same time during a training session.
Schema and Presto hanging out on the table, waiting to be released
So,  now the table has become such a highly reinforced obstacle as it leads to playing more agility. It's not your every day off course challenge, but I think I can handle it just fine.

1 comment:

  1. I also would have to watch for off course moments where the table was concerned with one of my 13 year old rescue BC, Nop would gravitate toward the table any chance he could. Because he was/is a very soft sensitive dog going to the table was a way for him to compose himself again.

    Keeper on the other hand avoided it like the plague. I've had too many NQ's because he'd go wide and run around it. I started having him hang out on the table while I run Venture and it is transferring to making the table a better place. He gets a treat for going up on it and then I'll periodically go over and treat him again for staying on it.

    Another excellent article, Nancy.