The finish is one of the two things I've decided to focus on for our winter training projects. The other one is fronts, but we haven't started our new games with that one yet. Today we started working on finishes with a new game. A game I'm hoping will speed up his around finish and result in him being closer and straighter at the sit end of it. Aside from speed never being his strength in finishes - especially in a trial - he often times ends up sitting too far out and forward, and crooked. The crooked is usually rear-in because he sits before he gets his rear in position.
A big thanks to Melinda (Exercise Finished) for posting the 'around... and run!' game on her blog. You can read the details on her blog, but basically the first phase is as follows: using a treat in your right hand lure the dog around behind you, then use the treat in your left hand to keep him in tight. When you see he is coming around, you take off running. Later on you will transition into adding the sit command and eventually losing the treats. I tried this for the first time today at the club and am really happy with the results. In my version of the game, I end up throwing the treat because he loves to chase treats and it keeps him going.
I think this game is really going to work for him. He loves it, and hopefully, it will speed him up and keep him in close to me when he comes around so he will be in better heel position. And, maybe if I do this all winter, it will carry over into the ring next spring!
Here's a short video of our first go at this.
And, not to leave Jolee out - I'm trying the game with her too, so here's my first go at it with her.