When I was younger and we were starting out with the obedience training mum used to find it frustrating that I would do something perfectly at home and then we would get up to training at the club on a Saturday afternoon and I would be off sniffing and acting like I never heard the word sit used before… for the record it took us 3 goes to pass the exam to be promoted from level 2 to level 3.
So the difference between home and club training was usually the distractions that were about. Other dogs, new smells and ohhh that person seems to have good treats.
Now mum has got a bit wiser and learnt that distractions are all about and hence do as much training as we can when those little opportunities arise. It might be on our morning walk when we pass brush turkeys (really stupid birds) or cats (I love the teddy bear-cactus quote at 47″ and appreciate Ruby’s vigilance) but the acceptance of the distractions has made life all the more fun for me and less stressful for her…. which brings me onto our training today and my Tuesday Training Tip…. Use the distractions.
Normal agility training cancelled this morning due to the weather but with a break in the weather we went and met my mate Darcy and his older brother Billy for some training. Specifically we were doing some Rally O training as we have some trials coming up. Because I am now in Rally Advanced it means I have to do an “offset figure of 8″… not sure what that really means except that I need to go around a couple of cones with some toys or food also in the exercise (with mum hoping that there isn’t tennis balls.. because if I touch the “distraction” we fail…. oppps). Found a video… bit long winded but the 1st bit shows what this off-set figure of 8 is.
So what we do….
– Put lots and lots of toys out across the course during normal training so I get used to working around the distractions (esp tennis balls).
– Before we get close to a distraction mum tells me to “look” which means I look up at her. During training I get treated when I look… which in the beginning meant mum was holding the food up at her nose so I knew where to look. It often means I don’t see the distraction if mum can keep my attention long enough. She will often continue to talk to me in a happy voice while we walk past whatever it is (sneaky mum).
– When I do start to get curious mum says “leave it” so I know not to touch. When we have been training this “leave it” I knew it was worth my while to “leave it” as I always got a big “yes” and then yummy treats for leaving whatever it was and paying attention to mum.
So paws crossed for Sunday when we are doing a Rally O Advanced trail… maybe I will come away with a pretty ribbon thing like at the Sydney Easter show earlier this year when I got my Rally O Novice title (Novice doesn’t have the offset figure of 8 thingy but if you would like to check out more on Rally O the rules are in here under Obedience).