Training for multiple dog sports is a challenge. Right now I’m going through an issue with training Jet for both Flyball and Agility. It’s not the training that concerns me, it’s the reward. Tug or Ball?
First of all, there’s prey drive and there’s fight drive. Fight drive is when a dog is tugging and growling at you. Prey drive is when they are chasing something that is moving. Jet is higher in Prey than he is in Fight. Which is natural for his breed. He is a ratter, even while I say he’s not a Terrier… he’s not, but he can chase mice and rats. So he loves chasing the ball. I’ve worked a lot to get him to love to tug. And he does love to tug. But when he’s watching a lure or watching Flyball… he is in prey drive and he doesn’t much want to tug.
So the flyball folk say to get the dog to love the tug more than anything. But the person helping me with agility says I should use the ball to motivate him in agility, if that what works. And the dog picks the reward, right?
So don’t tell the flyball people… LOL, but I’m going to use a ball to reward his agility and get him in drive. Because I do need to train in drive like a trial will be. And if the ball helps, the ball helps. My friend is going to make a tug with a ball on the end, maybe that’ll help for his flyball tug. Tugging at the end of flyball is nice because, like with Chase, I have his head right away when he comes back. No running around like a dork trying to chase a ball. So I’ll be working on that some, too.
I think we can find a balance, it’ll just be a trick to find it. Fortunately this is all about toys and fun, no acne treatments, which the dogs don’t have to deal with! I’m going to do some agility training tomorrow, with the ball, and I think Jet will really have fun doing it!