In the below video I discuss the foundation work for teaching my dogs distance skills. I will be teaching an Intro to Distance Online Class through my Fluid Motion Online Training Community, for more information or to sign up, please visit: http://fluidmotionagility.com/online-workshops
In this article, I am going to talk about how and why I teach specific directional commands for the barrel.
I teach my dogs a Turn and an Away command for the barrel, Turn means for my dog to turn towards me around the barrel and Away means for my dog to turn away from me around the barrel.
I want my dogs to learn independent barrel performances, this way I do not need to be right next to the barrel to give them a direction. My goal for my dogs at the end of their directional training with the barrel is that I can say “Go Turn” and they will drive to the barrel and turn around it. This way I can incorporate bigger distances with the barrel.
In the video below you will see me working Ally on her beginning directionals around the barrel, I start very close and show them the path around the barrel, sometimes I will lure if necessary.
I will continue to add more distance as I feel the dog is gaining confidence in the barrel performance and my cues.
This video shows myself starting Ally on her Turn and Away commands.
From the Fluid Motion Agility blog at http://www.fmagility.wordpress.com
I had posted a previous blog about how I use the Moving Wait as the core of my distance training as well as using it for impulse control, this post will expand on that concept. http://fmagility.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/and-wait/
So one of the first things my dog’s learn as puppies is to do a Moving Wait, it is the base on which I build their Distance Skills, Directional Skills, Confidence Building, Start Lines, and Life Skills.
How is a Moving Wait different then teaching a normal stay (or wait)?
When I teach a MW (Moving Wait) I teach the dog how to move, stop their feet and then move again. The difference between teaching a MW to teaching your dog to do a sit stay etc, is that most dogs don’t know how to apply the stay while moving.
So for example, you have taught a stay at the start line, but you have taught it with the dog in front of you already in a stopped position. So the dog learns how to stay, but not to stop while moving.
So I want my dogs to learn to feel their feet moving, stop, and move again.
I don’t ask for a position for their wait, I just want them to stop, Nargles most often lays down and Try will stand, either position is fine with me as long as their feet stop moving when I say wait.
You can see the beginning stages of teaching a MW with baby Nargles on the previous MW post here: http://fmagility.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/and-wait/
Using the Moving Wait in Agility
I will use a MW when I first begin teaching distance, asking the dog to wait when they are out in the middle of a course to go out and treat and reward them.
Why do I do this?
When you want to reward your dog where do you do it? Most handlers bring their dogs back to them, but what you really want to reward is that distance, so I want to reward them out there, this helps build their confidence, and confidence is the key to any distance training.
A lot of the times I will ask the dog to wait after they just did an awesome sequence at a big distance, for example; Nargles just did a pinwheel at 20 feet and she has never done anything at that great of a distance, I will ask her to wait after the pinwheel, I stay where I am, but i say “YES! Good girl! So Good!” , I will then redirect her back on course again. And sometimes I will go out to her to reward with a treat or a pet, I vary between going out to them or staying where I am and telling them how good they are.
By doing this I am building her confidence away from me at a distance, one of the keys is to continue working, if you go out to the dog to treat them you need to return back to your original handling position and continue on with the sequence. Same with if you stay where you are and verbally praise them, you need to praise them and then continue on with the sequence, that is all part of the MW.
I use the MW for life skills as well, waiting before going out the door, waiting in the car while I unload things. I have also used it when walking or at agility trials if I need them to stop right away. Because I have done so much work with the MW both of my dogs understand how to stop their feet even with an adrenaline rush and how to control that adrenaline through the Impulse Control games we have done. The MW has saved me a time or two in emergency situations when I need my dogs to stop and stay there until released.
I use the MW to teach impulse control as well, in the previous blog post I posted a Youtube video showing my dogs working with the Wait Game. I use this game a lot to teach impulse control, this game can also be used to increase motivation, increasing that drive to want to get the toy or food tube.
This Youtube video clip shows the beginning steps of teaching a MW, using the MW as a reward during training and it also shows myself with Nargles and Try playing the Wait Game outside with more room.
Teaching Switch by Amanda Nelson (Previously published in Clean Run Magazine)
Teaching Out and Here by Amanda Nelson ( published in Clean Run Magazine)