October 26, 2005

Running and Jumping

Still practising gaiting reinforcing looking ahead, and above all not jumping up at me, I decided that part of the problem was just the excitement of my running-walk.

When we do restrained recalls I encourage the excitement and direct it onto a tug toy. But I haven't ever trained her to be calm while I'm running. So this week we have been doing free running, off leash, for short distances (not that my running long distances was an option), either in a straight line or in a circle.

This reminded me of Greg Derrett's basic agility skills training, so I watched the video again. Agility Foundation Training stresses the importance of 'circle work' - getting your dog accustomed to running with you, on your left and right, on both the inside and outside of the circle. The dog not only gets used to the thrill of you running, but also learns to read your body language and position himself in relation to you.

Greg's Agility Foundation includes:
  • Get the dog you want.
  • Give it a short sharp name.
  • Study basic learning theory.
  • Teach it to play, including tug.
  • Become more rewarding to the dog than the environment or the equipment.
  • Develop a solid wait with strict criteria.
  • Have consistent release commands.
  • Teach directional commands - left, right, go on.
  • Practice circle work.
  • Have a regular fitness routine.

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