Believe it or not Mum doesn’t want it to always be about her. I know…. I’m confused too. One of mum’s key learnings from the recent One Mind Dogs seminar was that I need to increase my level of obstacle focus and understand it is my job to successfully negotiate whatever the obstacle is.
As a team with our “Agility L-Plates” on this is something that we hadn’t really thought about before. Mum has been going back through exercises we already do and considering how they are performed, and importantly how I am treated or rewarded, to increase my obstacle focus.
The first thing is that the target has made a big come back. Rather than treating me from her hand mum is putting the food on the target. The challenge for mum is ensuring that I do the exercise correctly and don’t just make a line direct for the treat. The other important thing we learnt from the OMD seminar is putting this target (and importantly the treat) on “the dog’s line” ie the route I should be running.
We have also gone back to the basic Mecklenberg jumping exercise. The very 1st one in her Developing Jumping Skills book is just getting me to want to jump the bar. Mum is just kneeling beside the jump upright saying and doing nothing. When I successfully jump the bar she says “yes” and rewards me (placing the reward on the target of course… one on either side of the jump).
Another exercise we have read about but haven’t really worked on yet is a start release. In this case it is about putting me in a start stay and then not giving me the release word until I am focused on the jump ahead of me (but not moving… yet). We plan to work on this but haven’t done too much yet as just getting my start line stays back has been a major focus for mum (however she is hoping that getting the obstacle focus and my start lines sorted will help with me not knocking the 1st bar in runs like I did 6 out of 7 runs in Cessnock).
This is something we are learning about so keen to hear from others on how they have taught obstacle focus and hints they have so please pop down your comments and thoughts.
Thanks and have a great week