She says: You need a series of high value treats that your dog just loves, and your dog needs to know how to jump (Susan Salo's jump grids), also shadow handling (Greg Derrick's circle work), retrieve a toy, and must be able to hold a sit/stay.
4 Categories To This Course: Focus, Reinforcement (Disk 1), Crosses and Turns, Understanding (Disk 2)
When you raise your arm, D looks forward and find its line instead of looking at you. Ds that can plan the stride they need on the first few jumps have an advantage.
#1 OBSTACLE FOCUS EXERCISES: To shape D's behavior to focus forward on the obstacle in front of them rather than on you. Your arm out is a cue to find their line.
1. Sit D beside you. Throw a toy out several feet in front of you. When D looks down the line at the toy, release with a "Get It" command as you move forward, too. Work this from both sides.
2. Same thing, only stand farther from D's side.
3. Same thing, only stand farther in front of D as well as farther from D's side. Throw the toy parallel to your position, not way out in front of you.
4. Same thing, only throw toy way out in front of you. Move forward with D as he drives past you. Don't teach D to drive past you with you standing still.
4. Introduce a jump between D and toy. Release when D looks at the jump.
5. Same as 4, but don't throw the toy until D looks at the jump, and release both simultaneously.
If D isn't toy motivated, you can throw a treat or a treat container for them to touch then come back to you for a treat.
#2 HOLD A SIT IN THE PRESENCE OF A DISTRACTION.
1. Sit D beside you, drop toy on your other side. If D remains seated, release. Move toy a little further front at each successful repetition.
#3 CHANGE OF ARMS means CHANGE OF LINE, i.e., TURN. When you change your arms, that means turn. If you don't change arms, D continues straight.
Have 2 toys, one in each hand. As in Step 4 above, throw out the toy (from the hand closest to D). After releasing D to "get it", call off by turning towards them (swinging your shoulders and other arm around (when he is half way there), and hold out the other toy. Say "here" or "come". When they get the hang of watching your arm que, you won't have to say anything.
Introduce a jump. Release D to a toy thrown way out beyond the jump, then begin changing arms to call them off to you for Toy #2. Eventually introduce a 2nd jump at 90 degrees (near you) and throw 2nd toy over that.
SIT IN POSITION
#3 BUILDING VALUE/BUILDING DRIVE:
To get D to do anything consistently, you must build value into that behavior. D has to know that he will be rewarded for doing it. This applies to anything you want your dog to do. Don't hesitate to "reward your dog". You wouldn't work for nothing, would you? Not for long, anyway.
"Not all dogs are border collies or terriers with
non-stop built in drive, but it can be developed."
non-stop built in drive, but it can be developed."
Let's say you want D to sit/stay reliably. What's their incentive? Do they get paid well and often for doing that? Once they develop the behavior to your satisfaction, do you quit paying them? Thruout a dog's career, you have to continue proofing all their skills or they will lose them.
#4 RELIABLE START LINE STAY:
Sit/stay your dog. Show D a toy. Drop it on the floor close by, far away, behind you, over a jump. When they look at YOU instead of the TOY, go over and reward them. Walk away, making all kinds of hand gestures, running too and fro. Then go back and reward them well, especially if they have not exhibited any kind of stressful behaviors, like moving their front feet, lying down, standing up, walking forward a step, barking, sniffing, looking to the side. Don't accept any crap. They should just sit perfectly still, looking at you, and not move from that exact spot until you release them to an obstacle. Go back and reward lavishly now and then for good sit/stays throughout D's career.
Behind the start line, D should look at you, wherever you go, whatever you do, until you put your arm up, at which point D should look at the line. This is important so D can calculate how he needs to adjust his stride to best take the obstacle(s) in the line. However, D should not move until you give your verbal release cue. To train this, go back and reward generously and often for a perfect sit/stay, but not always. Be sure you place the treat in front of their nose, right where you want their head to be looking -- which is, down the line.
#5 DRIVING OVER OBSTACLES:
If you want your dog to drive enthusiastically over a string of jumps, start by building value into one jump. Sit/stay, or stand D behind a jump (close at first then gradually up to 30 feet away). Release to the jump from a variety of angles, and throw a toy or treat past it for them to drive to. When they fetch it and bring it to you, reward them. Play a short game of tug. Repeat. Gradually move yourself and D further from the jump, but move closer in again if they begin losing their drive. Add another jump. Then another. No drive, no reward. Know what behavior you are training for. (If they don't like toys, you can use food in a container. See my Touch Targets post. Use your highest value rewards for this.)
"If going over a jump will earn them their most favorite thing in the world, then that jump will become their most favorite thing in the world."
BUILDING THE VALUE OF ANY OBSTACLE:
BUILDING VALUE FROM A DISTANCE: The further away you get from D, they quickly learn, the less likely you will return to reward a good sit/stay. This leads to stress behaviors. So it is important to go back and reward, or throw a toy back, release, no matter how far you roam. If you are throwing a toy back at them, throw it BEHIND THE START LINE, not ahead of it, and don't let them break their perfect sit until you release. They should never be trained to go forward from the start line unless it is to an obstacle.
START LINE REINFORCEMENT:
If you walk away from a sit/stay and are about to call D to you, only to discover D is already coming toward you, do you call them to you? NO. Any interaction with D, including a re-cue to sit, would be a reward, except going back and putting D back in a sit/stay position.
HOW PLACEMENT OF REINFORCEMENT OVER 1 JUMP AFFECTS THE JUMP:
CHECK = Go short, come tight, collect. (Release over the jump, don't throw toy, present it from your hand.) D turns tight around wing and back to you.
Start behind jump, and move further back as training progresses.
When you send D over jump at an angle, D follows the line of jump and curves back to you. Only way D curves back the short (turquoise) route is you rear cross and change the line.
Now on to Disk #2, next post.