Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Teaching an old dog new tricks - Right and Left Turns

I have resisted teaching Ardi and Reese right and left turns for use in agility, mostly because it takes me 20 seconds to turn everytbing around in my head to know which is right and which is left. With that delay I can't really see how it will work on course.

Ardi knows spin and turn. Which Bonnie taught for use in side changes in the Versatility class in Rally O. I do not know which is which, but I do use those verbals , usually just as a warm up and focus exercise.
Since watching the Dave Munnings video “Q-Me” and since there is still over 2 feet of snow on the ground I think it is time for me to teach the directionals to Reese and see how I can use them.

I started by teaching the left turn with Reese in front of me and using a treat pretty much in front of her nose luring her into a tight turn to the left and naming it Left. We worked left for a number of sessions, cutting back on the lure just using a hand motion with the word Left and treated at the end. Then just said the “Left” and pointed the direction I wanted her to go and then treated. Then we got a tug out, played a little asked her to out the tug, then with no body motion or hand motion , I simply said Left and she went left. At this time I am ¾’s of this process through in teaching the “Right” directional.

While teaching Reese, Ardi has been hanging around throwing her spins and turns in. This morning, I say left to both dogs with no body language, and they both get it. Then I say “right”, Reese gets it but Ardi goes left and looks confused. This is interesting to me, because before when asked the dogs to spin and turn. Reese’s reaction was delayed, like she was waiting to see what Ardi did. Now when I say Left or Right, Reese quickly does it and Ardi’s reaction to the word is delayed and wrong if I say right. I feel the pain in Ardi’s confusion , but Reese on the other hand has it pretty much figured out. Stay tuned for more on our progress with the Left and Right turn.