Well we had a Training Tip Tuesday post planned. And it was going to be a fun one… more trick… less of this agility stuff…. and then mum got thinking and chatting to people about my agility start line stays again. Guess it is a nice change from her pre-occupation with my bum strength.
Way back in the early days of Training Tip Tuesday we did Stays. At that time we were getting ready for my 1st Obedience Trial at the CCD level. At the time I was pretty calm. I am at Obedience. It is all pretty chilled as I walk around with mum. As you can see from my Agility Runs I am a bit more revved up (understatement according to mum) at an agility trial (videos on this post if you want to see me in action).
So today mum took me to agility training to get me back in that hyped up scenario (well close to… not quite the same as an agility night trial but the best she could manage) and got me to work on my stays amongst other things.
The first thing time she put me in a stay, unhooked my lead and let go of my collar I launched myself over the jump in front of me. Except mum didn’t follow. Instead mum said a nice (not in a harsh tone) “Oh no” and walked off and let someone else lined up. Opps. Not what mum wanted must rethink this.
After one of my friends had their go mum lined me back up again. This time when she stepped back I stayed put. Mum immediately said “yes” and I got a treat (BBQ chicken… yummy high reward). She then stepped back a bit further and because I stayed she said “yes”, came back and gave me a bit more chicken. Then she walked out and stood in position and gave me the “break” word and off we went. Getting to run the course is a great reward too.
Over the lesson she kept doing this when the opportunity presented itself. Sometimes she would release me on the 1st time and other times I would get treats a couple of times 1st. I really didn’t know what she was going to do so it meant I had to pay attention.
Mum was super happy as it was someway to getting me back into a reliable start line stay. She is going to keep working on it now at various training opportunities but the key is getting me into high stimulation environments like an agility trial and ideally with an agility course, or at least a couple of jumps in front of me :o) The thing she wants is for me to listen for her verbal cue to “break” so as I get more reliable she will stand in her position for a moment before coming back to treat me. She will even try moving her hand but making me wait for the verbal cue to break (yeah nice try mum).
Now we will note that not all dogs would cope well with the stepping away from the course like mum did with me. If a dog is really nervous or lacking confidence this might not help. Mum only did it as she is confident that I am super confident (have you seen me GO!). In this case it might be better to just go “oh no” (nicely and try again). Remember that the idea is to set us up for success…. rewards for the right behaviour are WAY better than any sort of recognition of bad behaviour. If it isn’t working than do something else that is more likely to be a success… then we are more likely to try to do the right thing.
A good stay is great for agility but also helpful in a whole range of situations, even keeping us safe out on a walk. Don’t forget here are plenty of other fun things to try over on the Training Tips page so be sure to check them out and if you take videos or photos of you doing any of them be sure to send them over.
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Have fun Oooo