Social Distancing…Part 2

Progress at Home

While social distancing is still trending and everyone’s learning to homeschool their children, it’s time for handler/dog home school!

If you missed my original blog on jump building you can find it here. Once you have your jump built or bought, you’re ready to add some structure and fun into your daily training. I can not stress this enough:

  • “Jumping” is not important at this time!
  • Dogs under 18 months of age are not structurally mature enough for full jumping
  • Jumping at full height isn’t necessary for what we’re working on
  • Targeting is as foundational as sit, down, stand, etc.

Full Disclosure

There is a skill known as “targeting” that is needed in order to build forward drive so you can send your dog over your newly built jump. Set your dog up for success by starting all new exercises in a controlled environment with minimal distractions (living room, kitchen, garage with door closed).

Lesson

Complete the exercises listed below to teach “targeting.” Feel free to reach out if you have questions or need to troubleshoot any issues. I would love to see your progress with this, post it in my facebook group.

Pro Tip: Train “targeting” before your dog’s breakfast and dinner. Hungry dogs love to work!

Supplies:

  1. Leash and collar
  2. Tupperware lid (coffee can lid, cut old yoga mat into 10″ circle, yogurt lid, etc.)
  3. (20) high value bite size easy to swallow treats (boiled chicken, hot dog, NO KIBBLE)
  4. Waist belt treat pouch

You will start with your dog on leash next to you, the lid 2 feet in front of the dog.

Next:

  1. Count out 20 treats and have them in your pouch. Wear the pouch on the opposite side of your dog to eliminate any sniffing distractions.
  2. Let your dog see you place (1) treat on the lid
  3. Immediately tell your dog to “get it” (be consistent with your cue, remember that clear, consistent criteria is needed for success)
  4. Quickly place treat #2 on the lid as your dog is eating treat #1 (this is positive reinforcement)
  5. Repeat Steps 1- 4 until your dog completes this distance without failure (5x)
  6. Add distance between dog and lid, repeat steps 1-5 (Don’t grow the distance to quickly if your dog fails. After three tries at the new distance you have moved to much to fast. Simply move the lid closer)

Video of novice dog learning to target.

The Jump Bump

Once your dog can “get it” at a distance of 6 feet or more then it’s time to introduce the “jump bump.” Gradually increasing the distance between your dog and the target will help us reach our “end goal.” Our end goal is being able to send your dog over a jump, through a tunnel, or across the yard to a target (a lid with a treat, target sticks, a platform, this is a foundation skill). This is a mental and physical exercise. If your dog seems to never tire out, this is the game for you.

Supplies:

  1. Leash and collar
  2. Tupperware lid (coffee can lid, cut old yoga mat into 10″ circle, yogurt lid, etc.)
  3. (20) high value treats (boiled chicken, hot dog, NO KIBBLE)
  4. Jump

You will start with your dog on leash next to you, the lid 6 feet in front of the dog and the jump bump (jump bar on lowest setting) 3 feet in front of the dog.

Next:

  1. Load your treat pouch with 20 treats (counting your treats keeps you honest and helps avoid drilling your dog)
  2. Let your dog see you place (1) treat on the lid
  3. Immediately tell your dog to “get it” (Dog should drive forward through the jump to “target”)
  4. Quickly place treat #2 on the lid if your dog drives through to the “target”
  5. If your dog drives through to “target,” move to step 7
  6. If your dog does not drive through to “target”: I allow my dog to fail 3 times, after that it’s time to regress. This is part of learning and OKAY, listen to what your dog is telling you.
  7. Repeat Steps 1-4 until your dog completes this distance without failure (5x)
  8. Add distance between dog, lid, and jump. Repeat Steps 1-4 (if your dog fails, move the lid to previous distance)

Tips for being a successful handler:

  • Remember that clear, consistent criteria generates success
  • Don’t grow the distance too quickly, be sure to generalize the dogs understanding of this skill.
  • Once your dog can target inside your home, move to your backyard and slowly add in distractions.
  • Always set your dog up for success this build confidence.
  • Always be positive, never say NO, never use a negative tone, be flexible!
  • Most importantly, have FUN!

Eventually you’ll be here with this: Māui 8 months growing forward drive

Just One Jump

one jump work
Māui one jump

That’s right, with just one jump you can work on many layers of a training program. For those entering into the world of agility, building forward focus and drive can be generalized with just one jump. For those who want a better pet, target training will mentally and physically satiate a bored dog. In this video you will see a novice dog working on building forward focus and forward drive. She isn’t given her cue until she is looking forward, getting a reward at the end of the jump is reinforcing her to “drive forward” away from me. Video example of using a toy in place of food on a target lid.

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