Wednesday nights I run a "obedience work group." It's really great. A small group of serious people interested in serious obedience. Lots of different backgrounds, opinions, and ideas. We did a similar thing last year, but this year has been even better. Each week we pair up into different groups, so you are working with different people.
Tonite my partner was a woman who has working style bouviers that she does Schutzhund with. She is, of course, very into Drive. And Speed. And Enthusiasm. She is very nice and positive with her dogs though, and they are amazing workers. In any case tonite I went with the goal of working on Pixel's finishes- they are slow, and she often stalls out. "C" had some great advice, but there are a few things that really stuck out.
First- if I had the drive into front, I'd likely have drive around to finish. Duh. Makes sense right. Don't get me wrong. Pixel has a beautiful front. All nice and perfect like. But she doesn't have the oomph. And then is flat for her finish. So we'll be going back and working on fronts. Again. This time with the basic priniciple of make her want it. Make her try harder, Make it hard for her to get there. All of that is going to make it faster and more exciting. Just like I used to proof Wicca's weave pole entrance buy trying to get her to do it wrong- holding her at the second pole and trying to push her in- she pulled away of course and ran to the first pole to do it right for a huge jackpot. With the fronts, push the dog away, turn away, run away, change your angle. Do all of that and instantly be rewarding in position. Makes sense.
Second- something called Tug and Miss? lol maybe Miss and Tug, or Hit and Miss. lol. I dunno what she called the game, but it was interesting, and I'm going to try it with Brit and Pixel. I play lots of tugging games already- and keep to the main rules (push the dog away, don't push the toy at the dog, keep it moving, make them want it, don't food reward if the dog doesn't want the tug, quit before the dog is bored, let them win lots.) But this game was a little different. Offer the tug, take it away fast and sharp movement. Turn away even. The dog should never really know if the tug is going to stay in one spot, you should get tons of excitement and drive before letting them have it. Of course you don't do this all the time- but it is a fun game to help build the "want" for the tug. I think its the sharp movement that really gets the dog. It was interesting to watch her dog (who is already in mega drive) turn into a freaking alligator for the toy. I do understand that my dog is different, but I think I can build it up to be similiar.
I also showed her what I've managed to teach Brit. lol. I did a ton of perch work (how I taught heel position) so now she just swivels her head around so she is actually looking sideways instead of forward. It's hard to describe. I'll try and video it. Anyway- with C's good eye she actually saw that not only was it my reward position but in my timing. So I've got a better plan to work on that. It also occurred to me on the way home that I should go back and do some choose to heel games with her. Because I taught the position first (which I normally teach later), I think that I initally forgot I hadn't taught her how to walk beside me and look at me. In other words I am lumping too much together combining the movement and the head position- she is confused. The choose to heel game will fix that in a few sessions...duh.
So a good Obedience night. Lots to think about, and lots to work on. In other brief news Brit retrieved her dumbbell tonite out of a pile of three on the box!!!! Woo Woo.