I had a private lesson with Chase today, for obedience, drive shaping, and general manners.
Have I mentioned how much I adore our trainer? Yes, I have, and I’ll say it again. She is absolutely amazing. She knows dogs so well, she can interpret behavior amazingly, and she comes up with solutions that are appropriate, positive, and effective! I am amazed.
Anyway, so we have some things to work on. First off, she said that Chase probably has some coping behaviors he learned from his prior home (Chase is adopted, we got him when he was about 10 months old). One of them is to jump on people, be wiggly, and pine for attention. Which makes sense. He does need some confidence building. but in some ways he is also is very hard-headed and stubborn. He is a very interesting mix.
So in agility, he sucks into tunnels, he looses his head, he goes really fast, but doesn’t have much thought or control. This is what we are going to do to train him better.
First, at trials, and even at home, I’ll take a treat bag or a toy and throw it on the ground. Chase is great paying attention to me when I have treats in my hands, so we have to get the treats out of my hands. When he looks at me or gives me attention, I click, have him touch my hand with his nose, and then run to get treats or the tug toy and reward. This way he’ll learn to pay closer attention to me even when I don’t have the treats on me.
We are also going to practice our heeling, both straight and right turns and left turns. With a target stick on my wrist. We are also going to teach him easy, for slow heeling, trot, for normal heeling, and hurry, for fast heeling.
And we are going to play the fast sit & fast down games. Run with Chase, and do a pop-sit with a treat reward. The collar pop is really light. Not even really a pop, more of a signal to let him know what I want. Then he can give me a fast sit and be rewarded for it.
Chase needs to keep his head while he is running fast in agility. This all will help. Fast dogs are great, but there are so many dogs in agility that go fast and lose their heads. Knock bars, go off course, and generally just go BLAH!!! all over the place. Chase does that now, and it’s not what I want. I want speed, with calm control. It’s possible. I’ve seen it! 🙂
So that’s our plan for now.
[tags]dog training, clicker training, border collies, focus, obedience, agility[/tags]