“Oooo, that looks like FUN!”
Hides on the ceiling or suspended from a string above the dogs’ heads; Hides at the top of a doorway; Hides under water; Buried hides; Hides at the top of a Jungle Gym; Etc. You know, “Sexy Hides!” They look cool and your dog may just rock it! But before you begin, consider what you are expecting from the dog? How will you support the dog if he struggles? What if the dog just gives up? What did he learn? How will it affect the teamwork? What’s the long-term fallout?
Sometimes we get re-energized by watching demos at seminars, trying things at K9NW Camp or by watching what others are doing via shared videos. We go out and find a new location or unique new prop and think it would be super fun to try this at home! What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that part of making it fun for us, too? Sometimes yes, sometimes not so much. It depends…. 🙂
It’s really important to have an EXPERIENCED helper when there is a risk of the dog crashing and burning with that R-rated hide. Train or practice with someone who can see when to reward based on that individual dog’s mental state or how to recover a situation when things don’t go as planned. Sometimes it means the dog does NOT find the hide! That’s OK! Sometimes it’s better to put the dog up and make an adjustment so the dog finds success with a PG or G-rated hide instead. The end result is a dog who is relieved with confidence intact and the dog-handler trust is not completely eroded. Whew!
If you went ahead an tried something that didn’t quite go as planned, well, maybe you just learned a little bit more about your dog and how you can be a better partner. Keep building your dog slowly with foundation so he comes back stronger when that next “sexy hide” opportunity presents itself. Now that will be fun! 🙂