Thursday, November 12, 2009

Let the Games Begin!

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.


Honey the Great Dane said...

Cool game!! Will be interested to see how you get on and what results you get with Jackson!

I have the same problem with Honey sitting too far away and crookedly. I think with us it results from her wanting to face me (to get the treats) - and I never corrected this earlier so now it's become a bad habit! Honey doesn't have such a problem with speed but if we ever decide to do Obedience, I'd certainly have to work on refining her position! I have done a bit once - using the clicker to shape a more straight, close sit - and was pretty successful but didn't persist. The problem with us is that there are always lots of other things to practise during training sessions ( moves, new tricks we're learning, general everyday obedience commands eg, Instant Drop from a run or long Out-of-Sight Sit Stays) that I tend to let the more finickity Obedience details slide. But am thinking of trying for the CD title with Honey when we move to Australia so we may have to start brushing up on our formal Obedience!! :-)


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

i love that game! But what I really need is a game for the left finish since that's the finish I usually use in the obedience ring. good luck on your goals this winter!

Kathie R said...

Thanks for the comments Laura and Hsin-Yi. I know what you mean Hsin-Yi about teaching so many different things that you let the details slide. I've been more focused on the basics of completing the utility exercises and I haven't taken the time to work on the precision in performing them. I guess with a Great Dane, I'm just afraid of running out of time with him, so thought I needed to go ahead and enter trials with the less than perfect performances. Now that we've got the UD title, I can slow down and try to polish things. And, Laura, if you come up with a game for left finishes - let me know!