Monday, April 18, 2011

A little training idea...not my idea but I like it!

Susan Garrett/Lynda Orton-Hill mentioned a thought about training our dogs that I found intrigueing. Their point was that in training (and I suspect in a lot of things in life in general) we practice/do the things we are really good at-we play to our strengths. Those are the things we find the most fun, the most rewarding because we do them well and want to repeat. We end up doing the same things over, and over, and over. Of course the problem is that our weaknesses and the small holes in our training do not get as much work, and the dog ends up bored doing our same go to behaviors all the time.

The suggestion was that you put down all your little training games, for example the 1-2-3 game, your restrained recalls, your crate games worked around distractions, maybe paw touches to a target, fast sits/downs at a distance, what ever little foundation behaviors should be revisited on a regular basis...put each one on a card and then put the cards in a baggie. When you go to train just draw a card at random from the baggie and work on what ever that card says. I deceided it sounded like a good idea, so I made about forty cards, I used most of the games from the SG recall course since most of those are nice foundation games, and made a few cards for some games that seem really important to play more frequently.

I think part of the reason going to a class or doing something like the SG recallers course, or the Sylvia Trkman elessons ends up being so great is just that someone else gives me a list of things to work on that might not be things I would remember to work on if left by myself-so I am hoping the cards work the same way and help my dogs and I keep our skills more up to date and our training time more fun and fresh.

Of course because I have a little OCD type behavior sometimes, I had to take my cards, write the game on one side, the other side has a few words to remind me of how to play the game, and of course I had to put some cute dog stickers on my cards, LOL. You can never have too many decorations on anything now can you?


We had a great weekend. Saturday Cricket got to go to a fun match- she ran a full course and did really terrific. The course had a lot of different skills from what we have been practicing, so it was really helpful by pointing out a few key areas to work on. OOOH and by the by....might be nice to teach the poor baby dog the broad jump. You would think since I have a dvd from Mary Ellen Barry about that...and have looked forward to teaching it, it would be something we would have done by now.. but this is our third time she has seen it and run right over the top-BAD TRAINER. The other things that we need to work on are helping Cricket understand me converging on her line. The great thing was Cricket was nailing some really hard fast weave entries and we really were communicating suprisingly well.

Breeze and I needed a little time together after last weeks news-so we went to visit and watch the DART USDAA test trial on Sunday. It was fun hanging around and seeing some of our trial buddies that we don't see that often now that we have not been trialing. Last week we had some snow flurries here in So. CA, but this week it was blazing hot. YIKES, the first few hot days are rough!


Morganne said...

Great training tip! I've been bored with Summit's training. Time to think about all those skills we are weak on and make a point to practice.

Convergence is difficult for dogs (BC's especially). I did a lot of work on this with Summmit early on. He did not want to converge.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Thanks for that training idea! I agree that is is much more fun to work on things that you and your dog are good at and to skip the weaknesses. I also have trouble remembering what I need to train and rotating it all in to a week. So maybe I am the perfect candidate for the cards. (I would not decorate them even though I am OCD too - LOL)

Congratulations on Cricket doing so well at her fun match! And glad Breeze got to go to the trial and hang out!

Diana said...

Great ideas! I've been slack about my recallers course, I need to get back on track.

That's awesome about Cricket at the match. And I'm glad you got to visit some friends.

Priscilla said...

Sounds like a great day at the match!!

You are right...In whatever we do, we are always more comfortable in doing the things we are good at, because then, it makes us feel good at succeeding.. But we are always more wary in doing something we can't do, but when we succeed, the feeling is much greater.

Jules said...

That is a great training tip!