Notes: Day 107 – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Notes: Day 107

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  • Jennifer says:

    Hi Sarah-

    My BC puppy loves toy play. She can play the 2 toy game easily and will retrieve an toy when asked. At home, if I throw a toy she will go get it and bring it to me for tug (or trade it for a cookie, or give me the thrown toy in exchange for tug session with a second toy I am holding). Retrieval of the toy and bringing it to me is 100% indoors, 85+% outdoors and then closer to 50% when we are at a training facility. When we go train she is very excited and if she gets a toy she will take laps with it or attempt a game of keep away. I do not chase her. Often I will sit down and then she will come over to me with the toy. Other times I have fallen into bribing her to bring me the toy in exchange for a treat.

    Because toys are so helpful for agility training (and I want to be able to put a toy on the ground or throw it, rather than always having the toy in my hand), I need to get her consistently grabbing the toy and bringing to me for tug.

    Some additional things I have tried-

    I have put toys on a rope. Unfortunately the entire rope becomes a tug toy 🙂

    I have done lots of toy exchange, toy for cookie, etc. I try to let her win the toy regularly so she doesn’t feel the need to be possessive of it.

    Other suggestions?

    • Sarah Baker says:

      One thought is to immediately give her the picture that will get her to bring the toy back, she gets the toy, you fall to the ground, bribe her with a treat, then play tug after she eats the treat. You can create a nice pattern and habit, then wean off the treats and your on the ground position. Is bribing what I really want to do? Maybe not, but even more so I do not want my dog rehearsing running away.

      Another thought is to put her on a long light leash to prevent running away. You can walk up the leash until you are close enough to trade or gently bring her in if she is not resistant.

      You can rehearse the 2 toy game with the toy leashed at home. Maybe that will help the tugging on the leash part if you need to use one in class.

      If there are barriers you can use you can also give her less space at first which can help the retrieve.

      In the house where she is most successful, can you make the game more challenging? That proofing can also help. I would also tweak what you are doing in the yard so you have a higher success rate.

      Let me know how it goes!

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