I didn't get much training in last weekend because I attended a two-day seminar put on by Celeste Meade. However, I did get lots of information, motivation and a number of exercises that I am most anxious to try with Jackson.
Celeste's theme for the seminar was "Attitude is Everything!" She focuses on a motivational, upbeat method of training, creating drive and attitude, and keeping attention between exercises. Since I'm really trying to focus on less formality and more fun and games in training Jackson, this really came at a good time, and I'm looking forward to incorporating these ideas in my training program. Her demo dog was a border collie, so I did have a bit of a problem visualizing Jackson performing with the speed and enthusiasm of a border collie : ) but, I did learn some ways that I can use to try to increase drive and attention.
One of the games that she demonstrated to increase drive was: throw a treat - call dog back to touch your finger - give the dog a treat and throw in the opposite direction - call dog back to touch your finger - and so on at a fast pace. Now, the one thing that I do with Jackson that really does get him revved up is to throw a treat across the ring, but.... I hadn't thought of a way to get him to run back to me. He would stay out away from me waiting for me to throw another treat for him to chase. So, I didn't know if this would work with him but thought I would give it a try. Yesterday we went out to the club and I tried it. It worked beautifully, so now I have a game to get him revved up and driving in practice. I'll try to get a video of us doing this so it will make more sense. ( I swear, he's almost as fast as a bc when he goes after those treats : )
We only have two days left to train before we leave for the weekend of trials. Today we're going to a new location to train and for these two days we're going to keep it informal, work on speed and having fun. I'm also trying to adjust my attitude because I think that's an important part of changing Jackson's attitude. You could tell when Celeste talked about her dogs how much she enjoyed them and appreciated their unique personalities - even when they made mistakes in the ring. She didn't get mad at them, she just saw it as information for training.
As I try more of the exercises/games that were presented at the seminar, I will post about them and whether or not I have success with them. I'm just hoping I can remember all that I learned!