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beginning obility for Lyra

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Obility is what I call obedience where you keep the action moving as fast as possible by blending exercises together and removing as many fronts and finishes as possible.  Sort of an obedience/agility blend.

All of my dogs learn obility, and we play obility games often.   Here are reasons to practice skills through obility:

1)  It’s fun.

2)  It teaches a dog to process commands while moving quickly and in drive.  They have no choice but to focus on you.

3) It allows a trainer to practice many repetitions of an active behavior.

4) It teaches the handler to think quickly, and requires 100% focus from all participants (not just the dog)

5)  It’s fun.  Did I mention that already?

6) And one of the most important – when you eliminate fronts and finishes, both dogs and trainers seem to stop focusing on the all mighty cookie (or toy) and enjoy the process of training, thinking and moving, for the sake of those activities themselves.  So if you’re struggling to reduce your classic reward schedule, give obility a try.

If you watch this video carefully, you’ll see that Lyra is practicing the following skills:  heeling with a combination of precision and drive, moving stand, recall, finish left and right, go out for akc, send out for schutzhund, out/recall with whistle for ringsport, blinds for schutzhund, directed jumping, retrieve, broad jump, moving down, backing up, drop on recall, and hand signals. All that in a couple of minutes with only a few rewards.  What’s not to love?

If you want to see more advanced versions of obility, you can see Raika practicing here:

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

7 responses »

  1. We love obility, very fun!

  2. Looks like great fun–& now I know why people live in California! My challenge this time of year is to find “drivy” activities that can be done inside a small house, since working outdoors would risk my bones & my dog’s ACLs. In past years I have made the mistake of working mainly on precision in the winter, & turned my dog off–it’s not fun if that’s all we’re doing. We are doing Nosework, which does build a strong desire to search for scent.
    Any ideas for those of us looking out at white instead of green?

    • Funny you mentioned nosework since I’m teaching an online nosework class in January for agility university. The reason we picked nosework was so it could be done inside. Yes, I do have other activities for obedience I do indoors but it’s really hard to film them. Maybe at some point i’ll write about it.

  3. She’s coming along nicely! Do you pre-plan exactly what you’re going to ask her to do, in what order, or is it mostly done ‘on the fly’?

    • I think more with her than my other dogs; after a while it’s on the fly. There are things I do when I can’t decide what to do next, like heeling, moving stands (not with her), out of motions (down) or around the can.

  4. Nice work as usual!

  5. Love this idea! Have been using it with students and really see how makes the dog and handler have to react quickly and it’s really fun!


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