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05/22/2016 at 11:04 am #6461Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
Ok, I’d like to inspire some discussion here. (Feel free to add other topics!)
What do you feel to be your greatest challenge as you have advanced up to training for and competing at the NW3 level?
Joyride K9 Dog Training
05/22/2016 at 1:26 pm #6468Sarah SorlienParticipant
Well, I do think we need to work a lot more with distractors and odor obedience in general. Also to get Lily more focused on the game.
We just did a round of tricks for the kids (Lily and her brother on pedestals and come down to perform one at a time.) She is so enthusiastic about the trick work and was even in a room full of strangers and strange dogs in close proximity.
I think my challenge is to make this just as much fun for her as the trick work so she wants to play the game. It is a little different, because I lead her with the tricks. I guess I want her to see her taking the lead as part of the trick…
05/22/2016 at 7:44 pm #6470Deb (De) FrostParticipant
Knowing when to STOP searching, trust that my dog has found what was there … and call Finish. 🙁
05/22/2016 at 7:58 pm #6471Deb (De) FrostParticipant
Sarah, Baxter loves doing tricks, too, and has quite the repertoire of them. ?
If Lily loves the attention she gets from performing tricks, maybe it would help for you to get just as excited and have a party when she alerts you to a hide? Do simple, quick hides in succession – with cheers and applause (and lots of promptly delivered rewards) for her “performance”?
05/23/2016 at 3:55 am #6473Sarah SorlienParticipant
That’s a great idea, Deb. Thanks.
05/23/2016 at 12:34 pm #6480Stefanie AlexanderParticipant
Biggest challenge: reading my dog despite the environment.
In a high-stress situation, Prim becomes incredibly subtle with alerts. During trials, her usual head arch and very light paw tap alert are oftentimes not present, and instead, I get what I can only describe as “The Split-Second Eyebrow.” If I’m watching the leash or the room arrangement (to see how many containers we’ve passed by and how many we need to get to), I easily miss this raised eyebrow. She, in turn, being stressed, is less confident, and responds with even subtler communication. She is a dog that is meticulous, and she needs to be right in order to continue. Since I didn’t reward, Subtle Prim is less engaged. Thus begins our vicious cycle of communication breakdown.
05/23/2016 at 3:34 pm #6489Susanne HowarthParticipant
Well, one big challenge that I certainly hope we have overcome is my bad attitude! The past two NW2 trials were both successful (first for Blackie, then for Biscuit) and I think those successes were in large part due to my conscious decision that no matter what happened, we were going to have nothing but fun. Previously, I was so intent on titling, that the moment that first “no” was heard, my day was a waste of time — even though Blackie would usually bring me some placement ribbons along the way! I think I’ve learned the error of my ways in that regard!!!
Another challenge that Blackie and I seem to have overcome has been a tendency on her part to guess, especially when searching containers. I’ve learned NOT to trust her first “alert” but to ask her to consider her options a bit more thoroughly, and since adopting that method for container searches, we’ve done a lot better!
As for challenges on which we still need to work, I’ll second Deb’s comment regarding knowing when to stop searching. Even though it was so very obvious to me when watching other teams search that the dog was done, I’m not confident that I’ll be able to apply that learning to my own dog. Also, I think an ongoing challenge is consistent training — making time to set some hides and work with my dog, and doing so deliberately — i.e., with training objectives in mind for us both.
05/25/2016 at 8:04 am #6502Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
All great responses! The more you can self-evaluate and take note of what you need to work on the more likely you will be to actually work on those things.
Knowing when to call finish is huge and one of the biggest struggles for many at NW3/+. How fast does your dog find hides when you know how many there are? What signals do they give you when there is nothing more?
If Lily likes excitement and applause, give it to her when she finds a hide. Who cares if you look silly, Lily will celebrate with you.
With Prim’s insecurities in a new environment, that’s something I’d purposely work on. By paying quickly in a strange environment you can relieve her of the pressure to search, keep her eye on the new things AND tell you where the hides are.
Sue – I love your response about attitude! I, too, tend to get down when things don’t go well. I am working on my attitude! 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
05/25/2016 at 9:50 am #6510Susanne HowarthParticipant
The real test on my assertion that I’ve overcome my bad attitude will come whenever I next hear a “no” — and we all know that will happen! So far, since adopting my new stance, I’ve had nothing but yesses AND still knew how many yesses I needed before calling finish. We’ll see what happens next time…
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