Thursday, June 4, 2009

Maintaining Criteria

I went to a fun run last night with both dogs. The course was challenging, but very fair (explain that later). Both dogs did great, but one of the first lessons was re-taught to me. I realized that I had not been maintaining criteria on the contacts. I am fairly consistent in the back yard, but once we get on a 'real course' I allow behaviors outside my criteria.

This concept is really hard for me. I am not a follow the rules kind of person in life. All rules are guidelines. When it comes to running a full course my goals are not in line with maintaining criteria on contacts. I want to run the course fast and good enough (to Q in a trial). I need to shift my goals in non-trial situations so that I can meet my goals in a trial (to Q).

In a fun run they give me 90 seconds to run the course and work on what ever I need too. My goal should be to run the course in 90 seconds. That is, have the dog hold the contact for 5 seconds, run past the dog and see if he/she holds the contact, be out in front when calling the dog over the teeter (I can usually bait the dog and get a fly off), lead off a ridiculous amount from the table, etc.

So, next time I am at a fun run (this weekend) I am going to see how well I can meet my new goal for my runs.

P.S. a fair course to me is when there is a way to handle the course and keep the dog from doing maneuvers that would add to injury. I am game for extremely hard courses and I have seen some that are very fair and VERY hard. They don't have to be too tight, 90 degree kind of courses to be challenging.