Monday, February 13, 2012

Why does Brody play agility?

He doesn't do it for any great deep abiding love of the sport. 
He doesn't do it because he loves to GO GO GO.
(He is a lapdog after all)

We didn't start agility because of his endless energy or drive. 
We started agility because it was offered in the same church as his puppy classes were and it looked like something different to try.

Brody plays agility to make me happy. 
He loves making me happy. 

He does not like making mistakes and doesn't like leaving me. 
At home or on course - he is happiest at my feet!

Have we done things to help him enjoy agility for agility's sake?
He loves a game we call "Bouncy, bounce".  I hold a treat in each hand and I bounce from foot to foot while facing him. Eventually I take off (in either direction) and he chases me. When he catches me - he gets the treat. 
Simple? Very.
Motivating for Brody? Very. 

Playing at Nationals

I can easily play this at the in gate. It has literally become an on switch over the years. 

Clean Run has a great article about help the disengaging dog in the Feb 2012 issue.
 By Leslie McDevitt,  it is for dogs impacted by ring stress but reading it I realized that the same techniques could help build a love of agility. She outlines identifying stressors for your dog and dealing with them directly. She talks about the concept of not using up your dogs energy bank at the start line~ something I have always avoided doing.She further outlines using Mat Work, the Look At That Game and the Gimme A Beak Game. She builds a neat twist onto Gimme a Break Game. 
She suggests doing one obstacle, rolling a treat along the floor and going to sit in a chair as you say "Good bye". When the dogs comes to see what you are doing return to the agility game and do two obstacles; then roll a treat away say "good bye" and go sit down. Repeat, adding one obstacle at a time until your dog has completed a sequence of obstacles and is begging for more work. 
I LOVE this concept. I suspect Brody would adore this game. 
Brilliance I say, sheer brilliance! 

Can't wait to try it. 

1 comment:

Sara said...

Great advice!

Oreo is like Brody - did agility to make me happy.