Hi, everyone! I took these videos a few weeks ago (and they aren’t exactly beautiful), but I thought that some people in Blogland might enjoy seeing them.
Pieka and I are training for Utility. This is the highest level of obedience in the venue where we compete (Companion Dog Sport Program) and the exercises are very similar to the AKC Utility class.
The first exercise is gloves. The purpose of this is to demonstrate that the dog can be directed to retrieve a SPECIFIC object. You will see three gloves in a row – Pieka successfully gets the article I direct her towards. My dog training tip: be mindful of your own body language and never assume that it’s your dog’s fault. Pieka and I struggled with this for a couple of weeks, until I realized that I was pivoting too far….I wasn’t directing her clearly enough with my body. This same theory applies to even the most basic skills – teaching a sit, down, etc.
The next exercise is a Go-Out. This is one part of a bigger exercise (directed jumping), but it’s VERY important to reinforce the dog’s happy, straight go-out separately. Otherwise, the dogs start only going part-way (not to the end of thing), taking the jumps when they shouldn’t, etc. It may seem simple to get a dog to run across the ring to target a stanchion, but nothing in dog training is that easy! I taught this through targeting, then slowly increasing the distance and teaching a “marking” behavior. My dog training tips: remember to break exercises into separate skills + reward placement is key. Note that I go all the way to the end of the ring and reward at the stanchion. That helps Pieka understand that the target – the middle stanchion – is the place to be.
Happy Dog Training, Alta Tollhaus Friends!