Thursday, October 28, 2010

Distance Work With Wyatt

I am still working distance with Wyatt and I think I have discovered a few things.  I stopped going down to our lower lawn where the dogwalk used to be.  He still associates that with getting hurt.  He had a few falls off the dogwalk.  I redid the dogwalk planks but he was still slipping so I just took it down.  Even though there is a tunnel there now, he was still hesitant to go in the tunnel area so I just took it down. 

I have been using the upper lawn with hoops, tunnels, and jumps.  I am working to getting Wyatt to go ahead of me without looking back.  Once again, it appears to be a number of things, rather than one thing that makes it work.  I have found that I need to do the following.

1)  "Paint the line" about 2 feet ahead of Wyatt.
2)  Use multiple verbals (such as "Go Ahead, Tunnel") and repeat as needed.  However, don't yell at him so much he stops.  Keep the tone pleasant and fun.
3)  Keep moving.  Nothing stops him faster than me stopping.  Moderate my footsteps so they are smaller.  If I run out of space, I kind of jog in place. 
4)  For tunnels especially, look at the tunnel opening. 
5)  Use our "switch" command when turning him and sending him out such as shown below. 




We'll see how it goes this weekend.  We did have some good practices with me basically totally outside of the mini-course.  Sometimes, Wyatt did not want to practice. It seems to be related to temperature, amount of exercise, and time of day.  I am trying to just accept it when he does not want to play and not get nervous about it and not try to coax/bribe either but to try again at a different time.  He used to always want to play agility so it may just be part of working with an older dog. 

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