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: