Tuesday, August 13, 2013

11.75 months - Tight Turns

Something we have been working on in class has been tight turns. The idea is to teach the dog to turn tightly around equipment (generally jumps) and to drive hard around. It's a fun exercise and it's important (at least so I'm told!) so I thought I'd share some of our training.

To start with I'm just using our garbage can because my jumps have a slightly raised middle support. Once she learns to go around the can (or any other object you choose) you'll see that it's not hard to transfer the concept to your jump standard.

I set the garbage can in the middle of my work area and then I gently hold Kili's collar and direct her so that her nose is pointing around the can. I release her collar and call her. I've positioned her such that she really has no choice but to finish the turn... it's the fastest way to get to me! If she had chosen to turn back around and go the wrong way I would have simply set her up the next time with her nose even FARTHER around the curve. As the dog catches on you start her closer to the intended start point so that she is making more and more of the curve on her own, until finally she is making a full 180 degree turn around your object.

At this point I elected to replace the can with my jump and directed her to take the turn around one of the poles. You can see that she makes a couple of errors because it is a much smaller object, but I just set her up closer to it so that she really has no choice but to go around it. From this point we will be working on starting farther and farther away from the jump and having me just send her to the jump. Beyond that I will start increasing the height of the jump.

The idea is always for the dog to DRIVE out of that turn and to you. Make it fun! I find a toy works best for this exercise and I'm not sure if having a lot of fun with it is what turned her from the toy interested pup you see in the first set of clips to the toy obsessed dog you see in the next set. I included a bit of her tugging through both these sessions which were several weeks apart purely to show you the difference in her tugging! I am thrilled with her tugging recently. I'm not sure what's gotten into her but I love the toy drive!

We have had our share of frustrations in group class. Kili is a social butterfly and if allowed to work off leash she will not listen or recall but must visit with other dogs (several of whom are not okay with being visited, I might add). However, watching these backyard training videos is very rewarding and morale boosting.

This was an almost brand new tug toy. I love these toys. They are made by a local company (but don't worry, they ship!) called Salty Dog Canvas and they are fantastic. This one is called the Mini Teaser Tug. It has sheep shearling, rabbit fur, and an Orbee raspberry ball. Salty Dog guarantees the Orbee and will replace the toy if the Orbee is destroyed. Well, go figure we broke it! I actually have the moment when it broke on video and I've included it as well as still photos of the toy before and after. The owner of the company said that they've never seen one break this way... as in inside out! They are sending me a replacement. Can't say enough good things about this company!

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