I do not want Lyra to believe that the ONLY thing she does on the IPO field (or in the presence of the IPO helper) is protection work. Dogs that associate the field with biting and not with obedience can end up with serious control problems later on; both in IPO obedience and in protection.
To prevent that, I’m beginning to work Lyra in obedience on the field – and in the presence of the helper.
The first few times I tried obedience on the field she spent most of her energy checking out the gopher holes. I was sufficiently irritated that I put her away (being irritated is ok; just don’t train!)
Next she figured out that we were going to work on obedience, but I had to work to keep her focused and motivated.
Now I feel like we’re reaching a more equal partnership; I make the work possible and she rises to the occasion. Today she was strong enough in her overall skills that I introduced the sit and down “out of motion” exercises for the first time. I also did more “IPO” style heeling with my hand on the side of her head. Eventually that hand will be moving, but for now I use it to position her and to give her comfort.
For those who will need to teach out of motion exercises, note that my body blocks her forward motion and my hands structure her to be correct – pretty much making it impossible for her to develop any bad habits.
I don’t plan to do a lot of out of motions until her heeling is consistent, but I’d like to introduce the idea. Next I’ll start doing them out of her “happy leaps”.
I’m thrilled with the way she holds the toy while I give the commands; it removes the issue of rewarding for position and allows her to focus on what I am asking for.