Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Do you Train? Or Complain?

Seeker working on 'Impulse' control.

Do you find yourself at performance events 'complaining' because conditions aren't perfect.

Maybe someone moved a chair while you were recalling your dog during the obedience recall exercise. Or a tent is being taken down, right as your dog is entering the weave poles in agility.

Let's face it....things are going to happen!!!

So, here's the question.
Do you Train? Or Complain?

Next time you find yourself at a trial wanting to complain, STOP!!
Take a breath and look at this as a learning opportunity for you and your dog.

I understand that you may have driven a long way and entry fees are NOT cheap.
However, if a moving chair or the disassembling of a tent are distracting your dog from
it's work, they are more than likely not as engaged as they should be.

You will also want to be sure you are being fair to your dog when doing distraction training.
Don't set him up to fail and then punishing him for doing so.
Give him the opportunity to correct his error and reward him!

Granted, there will ALWAYS be things that happen that
you could NEVER proof for. Here's a picture from a
recent PWD Water Trial in which a 'school' of scuba divers
were swimming around the outside of the test area.

However, if you had been able to practice at a busy beach, or
had the opportunity to work around a few flocks of ducks or
geese, this distraction might not be all that bad.

I use my chickens for distractions. They are very gullible, and if you just toss some grain around on the ground, they make make a wonderful, flapping, squawking distraction.

Here's Mad practicing her Apprentice Level Retrieve several years ago.
Yes, that's corn on the cob 'left overs' on the ground.

Look for places to practice with distractions.

Don't continue to practice in sterile environments and
then become upset when your show site is not.

Have fun with your distractions.

Most importantly!



  1. Amen, sister! Truer words have never been spoken.

    Can I borrow a chicken for proofing Phoenix? OK, what's the current market price for a chicken, just in case I have to . . . um . . . replace it?

  2. Oh... Vinnie would so NOT pass the chicken test - they would probably gang up on him!! :-) Maybe I'll start with stuff chickens...

  3. I have visions of chicken n biscuits. Melinda, I'll call you after Ryelee's "chicken test" so you can cook it up for us. Actually, this is amazing -what good dogs. We don't have chickens in the city but we do have rabbits. Would that work?