Abbey and I started back up with agility a couple of weeks ago.. but I think she is confused since these classes are outdoors and every other agility class we've had was indoors.
We have an advanced course set up and after a couple of obstacles she tries to go sniff the grass and doesn't stay nearly as focused as she did indoors.
I know some of it has to do with the weather, but after sleeping around all day, she is normally ready to go and go and go... It's not like her to wander off after a couple of small jumps.
Before the class starts each day, I let her go around and stiff everything and she always goes to the bathroom prior to class.. so I'm confused as what else I can do.
Any suggestions on how to get her to focus more on the obstacles than sniffing the grass?
Reward Reward Reward..do 1 obstacle reward..do 2 obstacles reward..do 1 obstacle reward...do 3 obstacles reward...don't try to do the whole course without some type of reward especially if you've had a break in training..build up to being able to do more obstacles without a reward..when you do reward don't spend a lot of time doing it..reward good girl and go on to the next set of obstacles..
I will try that! Our next class is tomorrow, but it might rain so we may not have class.
break it up and reinforce more ...every time I take a break I really up the ante for the dogs when we get back to it - I use mixed treats of various values and toys and I reward a LOT when I can ... even with Brody - who really is an amazing little dog - if I can reward him on course I always do somewhere - sometimes after one jump sometimes on a contact or after a weave or after anything great - sometimes once sometimes 10 times ...
he may not need it but I think he is wonderful worker who deserves to be paid well for the work he does
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller
Hey Justine just read this post....
Ok so Apple had issues running agility outdoors when we started trialing.
Outdoors might be bringing her some sort of stress, like it does apple. (Apple will either get the zoomies or sniff) - So when Apple was acting like this outdoors she'd get reinforcement from the running around and the sniffing, not from me. Since i figured this out i've been setting Apple outdoors for a minor stress incident(on leash), once she stops working i wouldn't let her get reinforcement from anything (I'd stay still like a statue and had a short leash.) Once she looked my way I'd play tug, give her food, act like a nut. All dogs need to work through stress and we just need to teach them that when under stress go to mama not everything else. Am i making any sense ??? Different enviornment is a big stresser with some dogs. Just get her use to that stress means i gotta keep working with mom and reinforce the good behavior.
And what others have been saying about treating her or tugging after one obstacle, two etc also is a good idea. Don't lure her showing her you have these things... just randomly give it to her.
I don't think it is at all unusual for a dog to be distracted when trying to work in a completely different environment and working outdoors when used to indoors is a huge difference. Warm temperatures take the juice out of my boy very quickly even if he's been resting for days! Warm temperatures can be having an affect.
The ideas that everyone is suggesting are good ones. You want to add value to the obstacles so sniffing in the grass doesn't seem so important anymore. It may take time to adjust but hang in there and she will. Also, be sure to work her outside when you practice. What does your instructor suggest?
Ann & Miles
MACH ARCHEX "Miles" (DOB 3/10/2006) UD RAE MXS MJS OF CW-OB3 CW-ARF CW-AR CW-ZR2 CL-1 (DOB 3/10/2006)
"Hartley" (DOB 7/21/2012) RN CGC CW-OB1