On January 28th of 2018, this was my dog. I was given an assignment to have him retrieve an odd object (he had never had contact with this portable Kleenex pack) and bring it back and place it into my palm.
I realized we had a decent foundation for learning to pick up new objects, but poor accuracy when placing them in my hand.
I also realized he "mouthed" objects quite a bit. Instead of just holding them securely in his mouth they bobbled around and he eventually dropped them near me. And while near me was always good enough before, it was not any longer. So I had to up the criteria and my expectation.
I worked multiple sessions per day, recording almost all of them. Within a week his accuracy became A LOT better. It is truly amazing the results we can get when we put the time and energy in. Many people working foundations with their dogs want to see results but are missing the key piece of putting the time in. They want change without any effort or work. These two videos, approximately one week apart, are great examples of how dedication and consistency in a very short time can change behaviors. All of my sessions were under 4:00 that I did.
And why am I doing this? Well, I want him to be better on the agility field. While some of you may be scratching your heads it's important to understand how behaviors are interrelated and how behaviors in one spot will help us better achieve results in another. Patience is definitely the key, and understanding that sometimes we need to have one foundational behavior in order to help us get other behaviors in the long term.
On January 26th I decided to take a new avenue with my agility training and do something I had never really done before. I decided to work with a trainer referred to me by a trustworthy friend. I have never met this trainer before and everything is done through video submission.
It has been very helpful in many ways: accountability, being able to watch back sessions since they are recorded, and having another opinion from someone who specializes in agility. I am so looking forward to this amazing journey and to see how every day behaviors get better as we move along in our training!