Monday, August 23, 2010

Fun and Games with the Bordergirls

Lizzie's favorite recall game is a simple one. I started it in our first recall class when she was a puppy.

pretty simple you just take a lower value treat and throw it so your dog will go and get it,as soon as they get the treat you call them and reward with a higher value treat when they get back to you, or if they are really into it you can just reward with another cookie toss. With any game I like to either play with my dogs a little bit, get a little silly, run with them, anything to put them in a playful mood, and put myself in a playful mood! You could also grab their collar and gently restrain them as you roll the treat if your dog gets excited with restrained recalls.

To tell the truth the way I leared it you just reward with the toss and the chance to keep the game going, but in a higher distraction area Lizzie especially is prone to the zoomies so I really want to reinforce her for checking in with me. I think you have to consider your dog and their needs, their excitement level, and figure out what makes it fun for your team.

Trouble shooting:
**If you have trouble I find that to roll the treat--think chasing--so the dog wants to chase it, it looks much more exciting.

**Use a treat that stays together and doesn't come apart to throw-so maybe kibble or string cheese to throw

**if the dog really seems interested in the ground maybe start playing the game in a really quiet corner, a bathroom without a lot going on, somewhere quiet, or take the dog and move them to another location if there is something on the ground. Once they get into it and understand the game you can move it to more distracting places.

**if you are having trouble make sure the treat you are giving when you call the dog is YUMMY!!

**I would also suggest making the reward for coming to you more exciting, THINK EXCITING GAME, ever few times I was playing the game esp. to start with I would take off and run in the opposite direction, keeping eye contact with the dog and a happy tone inviting them to chase you and if you can deliver the treat while the dog is moving that is even better! If your dog sees you running off the other direction for a super fun game they are not going to see the value in sitting and sniffing for crumbs, LOL! As a bonus this is great for teaching the dogs to stay on one side and read the spot they should be aiming to come to when they are doing agility. If your dog tugs or plays with a ball you could do that every few times to reward.

**I would also only reward a fast and happy recall, if it is slow and they are just looking uninspired, I would change things up before I would let them keep practicing and thinking I wanted them to be slow and cautious.

A VARIATION of the game we have been playing is seen on Crickets video at 1:18 and on Lizzie's video at 2:53.

This is a SG game-and if your dog is OK with their collar being grabbed or being restrained...then you face the same way as the dog and grab their collar with the arm farthest from the dog-YOUR ARM YOU HOLD THE DOG WITH GOES OVER YOUR BODY, It also holds the highest value reward. Take your hand closest to the dog that has a lower value treat and have that arm in front of the arm going across your body. Throw the cookie, the lower value one that is next to the dog.....I tell the dogs "GET IT!" and as soon as they leave to get the cookie I take off the other way and reward them at my side once they get the treat and catch up to me.

I AM SOOOO THRILLED. A month ago I really did not know if Lizzie would ever work this nice, straight out of the car in a new place with all this going on. I used kibble to throw-a lower value treat and Salmon (which was sort of messy ;-( ) as a higher value reward for coming to me. After a few times Liz was not grabbing the treat so I switched to a slightly higher value treat, not as high as what she got for coming to me, but higher then the kibble. In a low distraction environment I do not give Liz treats for coming to me....she knows the game so well and likes it so much that me throwing a reward and keeping the game going is enough reward to keep her excited.

FOUNDATION, FOUNDATION, FOUNDATION, we are all about foundation here the last month!
Some might laugh at some of the things we have been working on, and if you told me I would have fun and get excited working on foundation stuff, I would have laughed at you....but I can not tell you how much life at the bordergirls house has changed since we have been on our foundation kick. It does not hurt that the games we have been doing have been so much fun!!!!

You have to check out the UGLY BALL it is at 1:29. Since we are doing so much foundation work---I videoed working with Breeze with her FAVORITE ugly ball. She is ball obsessed and I was trying to get some fast, happy hand touches where she got the idea she had to do some GOOD hand touches and then she would get the ball. I figure it is GREAT foundation work for helping her learn to work even when she gets really excited, I hope that this will really help when she gets overly excited at trials.

Then I did a little video of the Cricket and Lizard where I was doing the Susan Garrett more motivating hand touches ;-). I have trouble with the mechanics and feel so awkward, so that is why I figured I should video to watch what I was doing wrong! I have to hand to to SG she can even make hand touches into a fun game!


Marie said...

Thanks for sharing the foundation games. I thought you looked like you were doing a great job on the hand touch game.

Sara said...

Wow Kathy, thanks so much for all these great videos! The recall game videos really helped me out. We'll be playing some today. Plus, both my dogs know "touch", but we rarely make it a fun game like that!

I have to say, I am in love with Liz's face! Precious. She did superb at Target!

All three of those dogs live life with such enthusiasm, it is a joy to watch.

Kathy said...

THANKS! I was soo proud of Liz, she really did good at Target..we really pushed our boundries and she did not do what she normally does which is check out, disconnect and either sniff or leave..... i have to say I have found the sg course has really been terrific for showing me how to be more playful=not something I am naturally very good at!---Kathy

Sara said...

Liz was totally engaged with you at Target!

Oreo and I just played touch/go get get his ball/tug. He had a blast. I waited until Oreo was riled up to play (making the bed is what got him riled up!) before initiating the game, and that really paid off.

Again, thanks for this post. It really helped clarify my foggy brain :)

Priscilla said...

Hi Kathy,

Thanks for sharing all the recall tips!!!
Your dogs are doing so well, it's a pleasure to watch them work.

Danielle's Dog Training Blog said...

They are doing excellent! What happy doggies!

Breeze reminds me of Indy as he is very very ball obsessed too. I can get him to do a bit more tugging than I could a month ago...but if he's in the presence of a ball...there's no way he's going to tug on anything. All he wants is his ball. But I don't really mind if he's not a big tugger as long as he has a toy he really likes to work for. He's really building up quite the collection now of different sizes and textures of balls.

Morganne said...

Excellent videos! Thanks for sharing. You've given me some great ideas. I really like the recall at Target and the hand touch then run away and tug. Guess what Soleil will be doing soon ;-)

Sagira said...

Great videos! Thanks so much for sharing and keep up all the great work you are doing. :)

Diana said...

wow, thats really good information. Thanks, Diana

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Totally awesome post and amazing recall work at Target!! I am so impressed with Liz and Cricket staying so focused on you at a busy place like the entrance of Target - you have really inspired us!

We are working a little on the chase game to get a treat and the hand touches and it is so much FUN! Now we need to try your recall game!

Thanks so much for sharing all of this info!