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Badly needed ray of hope: March 10th

Posted by Amanda Beasley on Friday, March 11, 2011 Under: Agility: Foundation
Last week we focused on getting her obstacle focused: walking up perpendicular to the ladder and swinging hips and all four feet into ladder. Bringing a jump into the house and shaping her to jump it. Starting out very low, then making it higher and higher. I did this for two days, then moved it outside and did the same thing. Putting her in a sit right in front of a jump bump, which was right in front of a low jump, then putting the toy a dog's length from the jump on the other side, then releasing her to it.  We did the ladder work and the jump bump drill for a week, and she really did not show any enthusiasm for it at all. It felt like work to her...why cant we just PLAY???  I brought the ladder closer to the house, rather than in the big agility field (less distractions), tried upping the value of treats used, and kept the training sessions very short, all of which did seem to help, but it still did not seem fun to her.

This week I pulled out the LIVE toy! (me throwing the ball/toy as a reward, rather than it just sitting there).I knew that I wanted to up her enthusiasm, but I also wanted to keep her obstacle focused. So last night I combined parts of the two jump drills, and actually had a great session! I just stood right next to the jump (not looking at her) with her toy in my hand. When she decided to jump it, I threw the toy ahead of her, and she ran after it with vigor!  We then did the same thing with the ladder. She had to walk up or down the ladder all the way to the end without coming out, then as she was making the correct exit, I marked it with a yes and threw the toy ahead of her. She was pretty clumsy with both drills, but there was a marked improvement in her attitude toward them. Then today, when I went to do the same drills, she floored me with her very first SAIL over a jump with a grin on her face! She actually looked as though she were enjoying herself =)  The same thing went for the ladder. While it was not as much fun as jumping, she was willing to keep trying until she got it right, kinda like it was a game. It was a badly needed jump in progress, one that gave me great hope for us as an Agility Team!

In : Agility: Foundation 

Tags: toy  play 
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