Sunday, 6 March 2011

Work and Play / Just once more!

Today while Deb and I were training, we got out the stop watch and for every second of work, we had a second of play.
The 7 obstacle sequences we were running were taking between 20 and 27 seconds, from the beginning of the lead out to the last obstacle. Some runs went smoothly, and others not so much, but after each sequence I tugged with Reese for the amount of time we spent on the sequence.

This idea came to me after reading part of Marsha Houston’s Blog “The Two Minute Dog Trainer”. In the blog, Marsha talked about working drills, and that often we get so caught up in getting it right that we don’t reward our dogs for their efforts. I like to think that I am not guilty of doing everything "Just one more time" and forgetting to reward, praise and end when Reese still wants to play. So doing this was a bit of an eye opener for me.

Playing for the same amount of time as we worked was very exhausting, but exhilarating for both Reese and I.
Some observations:
1. Reese was totally focused on what we were doing..Before the sequence, during the sequence and after the sequence.
2. Physically, there was no way that I could tug for a full 27 seconds, though I am sure Reese could. So in the play time, I started running with Reese, so she had to stay with me rather then tug against me. She really seemed to like this and surprising to me she did not cross in front of me, behind me, jump on me or miscue to the tug (read bite me).
3. Having to play for the same amount of time that we worked, really had me breaking things down in to smaller, manageable parts. I worked on 3 obstacles and when I got the hard part., I stopped and played.

My criteria in training is for Reese to do things with speed and motivation. So it makes sense to keep things short and fun rather then try to train when she is tired or disinterested. So really Less is More!.