Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A game of chase is all it took!

Tangle is a thinker when it comes to agility. He does not like to fail and sometimes over thinks a problem. These kind of dogs are great to have, but you have to be really careful in a couple of ways with them. 1) Don't let them fail too many times. If they can't get it on the first couple of tries, break down the task. (good practice anyway) 2) If they start loosing interest you can almost be guaranteed they are thinking too much and the fun factor has to be ramped up! Don't let them think too hard!!

Compare this with Tip, who is a do'er! I don't think Tip has ever shut down on me. She is ALWAYS game to play and then play more. She would work until she drops dead. BUT, it is harder to get her into a place where she is thinking "hum, what does she really want". I have to control Tip's excitement level a lot more when training something new. Food when she is learning something new, toys only when she has got it down cold.

So, I introduced Tangle to channel weaves this morning. He has been taught to weave six poles with 2x2 weaves. The channels were a completely different obstacle to him and it was NOT obvious what he needed to do to perform them properly. I noticed very quickly that he was thinking too hard and beginning to shut down. Well I believe strongly in ending on a positive note and it became apparent this was not going to happen.

Stop, breath, and think "how do I end this on a happy note"? C H A S E!!!!

Tangle's favorite obstacle right now is the AFrame. So, I incorporated the AFrame into a game of chance to just get him "do" and not "think" any more. It turned out to be a great decision. I ran him over the AFrame (favorite obstacle), threw the squirrel Frisbee (favorite toy) and while he was getting that, I ran in the different direction and hide behind the shed (chase, favorite game). I had a completely different dog on my hands!!! The speed, intensity, and joy out of Tangle was amazing.

After I had him completely engaged again, we went back to the weaves. First time ran all the way through the channels--we ended there, on a positive note!

Now, I will say as I write this I realize my mistake in introducing the channel weaves. I had them slightly open and I think that is what confused him. I should have started with them closed and then opened them as he gained confidence on another set of weaves. First time I have trained weaves this way and we all live and learn.