Sunday, October 06, 2013

13.5 months - Focus and retrieve

In my last post I talked about how Kili is out of control. She's actually nuts in the agility ring. She is hyper excitable and she lacks focus. She is extremely distracted at all times by EVERYTHING. I have never had to deal with a dog with so much environmental distraction (take that for what it's worth though as she's only my second dog). It can be frustrating at times, and sometimes I just don't know how to deal with it.

One big problem in the ring is when we are doing a sequence of obstacles, she'll do one (often the last one) and then sort of get lost. If I throw a toy for her, she grabs it and takes off with it. She doesn't exactly do zoomies but she really has fun playing with that toy... without me.

I've been working with her on a couple of games to encourage her to bring me back her toy to play with me, instead of just playing by herself. The first games help as the beginnings of a retrieve. When tugging I suddenly let go of the toy and take off on her, encouraging her to chase after me with the toy. When she gets to me we play tug for a bit and then repeat. Sometimes I ask her to release the toy then I drop it or throw it just a few feet. When she commits to taking the toy I take off the other way so she chases after m, and again we play tug when she gets to me. Within a session I alternate between those two games, with the idea being to build a longer and longer retrieve and to eventually not be running away and just have her bring it to me. You may have seen in a couple of the more recent videos I've posted that she does bring me the toy to tug, but that's in our own yard. Places that are not our yard are a whole different ball game.

The last thing we've been working on is a bit of impulse control and focus work. I ask her to release her toy ("off") and then I dangle it in front of her and dare her to take it. No matter what I do with the toy she shouldn't try to grab it until I tell her to ("take it!"). Check out her focus on that toy! Love it!


Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Good strategy! I have the same problem. I've been working with two toys... so when she takes off with one toy... I play with the other one by myself and she usually comes running back to participate. :-) I'll have to try your method too!

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

I tried that with Kili but the problem is I don't have two of the SAME toy that she loves. If she takes off with the one she likes more, she won't come back if I have a party with the less favourite one! ha. Darn puppy! But this method seems to work most of the time for us. Not quite so much in the ring with other dogs but... we're working on it!