Phasing out the talking and treats...!
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Thread: Phasing out the talking and treats...!

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    justine's Avatar
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    DefaultPhasing out the talking and treats...!

    We have our first beginner novice trials Nov 3 and Nov 4. Up until now, I've been working with Abbey with lots of praise (talking during heeling, telling her "good heel," etc) and treats (jackpots as needed, randomly during heeling). I'm not talking or giving treats as much as when she's first learning something, but now that competition is in a couple weeks, how should I completely phase out the treats?

    When we have rally trials, I work her up until the last second with treats so she is revved up and knows what to do. Should I do that with obedience, too? I just don't want Abbey to think "What did I do wrong? Why is momma not talking to me?!"

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    That can be tough.

    I did alot of rally with Miles before I started doing obedience. Miles is my first dog and I really didn't know what I would do with him and knew nothing about any of the dog sports. I knew in rally I could talk to him. Wanting to get Q's I chattered almost constantly in the rally ring. We pretty much had a 100% Q rate in rally. When we moved to obedience, the formality was hard for both of us to get used to.

    A few things I did that helped.

    In training, I occasionally did what is known as back chaining. If you are in the "A" class, you know the order of the exersizes, right? Start with the last one, then run away from your training area and have a party. Then do the second to last exersize, praise, do the last exersize, then run away from the training area and have a party. What that does is make the dog see the next exersize as a reward for completing the last one. Finally, they get to leave the ring and go get their jackpot. I was able to use that for Novice and Open. Utility, not so much, that is alot to do over and over again. Of course, by the time we got to Utility, he was used to the formality.

    A few other things, remember to look at your dog and smile. Stay engaged with him. When you set up the dog for the next excersize and judge is talking to you, maintain that eye contact and connection with your dog. A big mistake I often made was to look at the judge when he was saying "this is the bla bla excersize, are you ready?" Then I would look back at my dog and (surprise surprise) he had gone somewhere else and I had to get him back (mentally, not physically). Once I learned that I only have to answer the judge, I don't have to look at the judge and maintained eye contact with Miles, we did alot better. Remember to smile at your dog. Another mistake I made. In my nerves, etc, the look on my face probably looked to him like we were in big trouble. Use your eyes and face to tell him that there is no place you would rather be in there in that ring with him at that moment.

    Good Luck!

    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

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    justine's Avatar
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    Thanks, Ann! In our class on Monday we did talk about this a bit, so in training, I've been showing her what the "show" me looks like (standing straight up, left hand held close to my stomach, no treats) for little bits in between regular training (lots of talking, praise, treats, etc). I'm going to practice this everyday up until the trials, so hopefully we will be alright by then. Fingers crossed!!

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    Good luck!

    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

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    doing an online course with Denise Fenzi on play - I play A LOT with my dogs any how but this is really breaking it down for us - Personal, Food and Toy play; pressure, engagement, drive, frustration ... very good to get away from the crutch of treats!
    http://andrea-agilityaddict.blogspot.com/

    “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

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    I never really phase out treats.

    I simply make it so they have to be near perfect to get one. Came in straight last time, but sat crooked? No treat.

    I kind of turn the screw and make them try a little bit harder. What does that do? It makes it so that when in the ring they don't get a treat, they try harder on the next exercise. They get a treat at the end, kind of a jackpot when they get back to their crate, but I make them to a bunch of exercises.
    'Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.'
    ~ Michelle Held


    Rhys, Ruby and Nola

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