Clean Run - December 2012 - (Page 64)

© DOGHOUSE ARTS PART 2 Being a Good Student By Elaine Coupé How many times do we attend seminars, or even weekly classes, and get the big picture of what is being presented yet miss those pesky details that really make the picture complete? You’re doing a rear cross. You’ve done it a million times, but this time you push the dog off the jump. Doubtless you come off the course baffled; after all, you and your dog are a fairly accomplished team. How could he fail to read that rear cross? Or you’ve trained what you think is a two-on/two-off contact performance, yet you’ve noticed at trials that your dog is creeping down the dogwalk from about half way down the down ramp. What is that all about? Wow. Lost that Q when your dog failed to assume a down position on the table (AKC-only people can disregard) and you lost so much time trying to get your dog to lie down that you were over time. But he always does a down on the table! Does he? Let’s look at the first scenario. We’ve all done it; we push the dog 64 off the jump or other obstacle. After all, when we’re doing a rear cross we have to get to the other side. But when you were at that seminar, didn’t you hear the instructor say a rear cross is done “from a parallel position?” So if you are facing the dog, the dog now assumes a position parallel to you and goes the new direction, also. Unfortunately, your dog was supposed to take that jump first. But if you look at your body position and the cue you were giving the dog, you can clearly see that if you had maintained that “parallel” position, your dog would have gladly taken that jump and given you a nice tight turn to boot. Such a minor detail, but one that makes all the difference to your dog. What about that two-on/two-off contact? When is the last time in practice you looked at what you were doing? The dog comes down the dogwalk fast, and stops at the bottom—but just short of the two-on/ two-off position. You wait a second. When the dog doesn’t move, you not only repeat your command, but you also give a hand signal such as a wave, or even better, take a step or two to encourage your dog to assume the correct position. When the dog gets into correct position, you either reward him or mark it with a “good boy” and go on with your sequence. Oh, but those details! So when the dog didn’t move into the correct position, you gave another verbal cue. Then you gave a hand signal—that’s another cue. And then you took a step—another cue. When the dog was finally in the correct position, you rewarded him. Whether the reward is in the form of food, a toy, or permission to go on to another obstacle is immaterial. You rewarded an incorrect behavior chain. In practice you are teaching your dog there is more than one correct behavior. The dog goes to a trial and is no longer sure which correct behavior you want, so he creeps down the dogwalk hoping you’re going to give him a cue so that he knows which behavior to perform. But what if, in practice, you only rewarded the correct behavior? What if in practice the dog either did twoClean Run | December 12

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - December 2012

Clean Run - December 2012
Table of Contents
Editorializing: All Roads
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers: Identify Patterns to Gain Perspective
Challenges for Rising Stars
Power Paws Skills: Front Crosses
Agility Mind Gym: Full Circle
Training a Deaf Dog to Go the Distance
Awesome Paws Drills
Does Gender Matter When Choosing an Agility Dog?
Control Unleashed Solutions and Answers: The Overexcited Spectator
10 Games to Play with Dogs That Are Recovering from an Injury
Gait Analysis Helps Diagnose Early Lameness & Improve Performance
The F-Word: Building Resiliency to Failure!
Training with the Stars: Maureen Waldron
Building Blocks: Developing Solutions for Agility Problems
Being a Good Student, Part 2

Clean Run - December 2012