Friday, February 17, 2012

Mother May I? It's a Game!

As if collection work isn’t enough, Seeker is also working balancing his obstacle and handler focus. I think for most dog/handler teams, this is a continual shift, from one to the other. It’s a matter of finding the right balance.

Seeker is currently shifted to obstacle focus. He’s like a 4 year old in a Toy R Us store! He is consistently shopping for the PERFECT TOY! As soon as he picks one up (or takes an obstacle), he’s looking for another. Does he check in to see if it’s okay to take another, NOPE!! Silly boy!! It’s not that he doesn’t listen, he does, but he wastes time scanning the area.

So, Wednesday we started the “Mother May I Game”. Here are the beginner’s rules –

I give him permission to take an obstacle; he comes back and gives a hand touch. I then give him permission to take the next obstacle, hand touch, etc. Needless to say, he did not appreciate my rules, but he would come back and ‘touch’. Sometimes he would try ‘air touches’, ‘purt-a-near touches’, or at least I’ve ‘stopped-touches’, sorry puppy…’s got to be a ‘real hand touch’. Basic fundamental rule, if you want to go on, you touch.

Thursday was much better. He truly understood the rules, but his nose touches were turning into bites. OUCH! Don’t bite the Momma! I know it’s hard for some of you to understand, but Seeker is just slightly over the top when it comes to agility. Something else we’ve been working on, remaining calm. Back to the game, bites don’t count, only nose touches. He would take an obstacle and push his nose into my hand; he was really getting into this game. Although his position for taking the next obstacle wasn’t great, meaning he was generally facing me.

Today’s criteria will be that he not only needs to nose touch, but also needs to be pointed in the same direction as I am. In other words, it would be best not to run past me and then come back. We’ll see how that goes, but he wants to play, so I have no doubt he’ll quickly learn this rule as well.

This weekend we have another USDAA trail, so the first class is Gamblers. I’m going to apply this “Mother May I?” game in that class. While he won’t actually be allowed to touch my hand, I think I can adapt the rules to something ‘workable’. The Gamblers class is great class, in which to practice criteria, as long as you don’t get ‘caught up’ in the competition of it all.

Our work continues! Re-establishing criteria, while keeping it FUN!

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see you and Seeker this weekend :) It'll be a blast!!