A few days ago I started using platforms to increase Brito’s ability to move away from me without getting derailed by the world. By sending him from platform to platform, he stays on track. I can then take these multiple platforms “on the road” so we can work this skill away from home at ever increasing distances. Eventually this will serve us well for the Utility “directed jumping” exercise.
We’ve just started this game so there is understandable confusion for Brito. He’s not sure if he should stop on every platform or keep going. I’d like him to keep going until I call his name.
I try to send him from the last platform to the stanchion/pole at the end as a final behavior. That stanchion or pole will become the final target since both poles and stanchions are likely scenarios in competition in my area.
Here’s the video, complete with plenty of errors so you can see how I handle them. Some of the mistakes he makes are to miss platforms on the way out, not stop when I call his name, or stop when I do not call his name. These errors all make sense to me – he’s just learning what I want! I use as many verbal cues and hand signals as necessary to help him understand.
The next step would be to space out the platforms until they are quite far apart (50 feet) – and then continue them on BEYOND the end of the ring so he believes a platform might be there too. That should prevent too much loss of speed as he gets to the end of the ring. I’ll add that piece soon enough.
Finally, I’ll remove them altogether and just send him to the gate itself. He already does that well at shorter distances.
For sure we’ll run into challenges along the way. When they arise, I’ll do what I can to help him perform correctly without making an issue of the errors.
Can you see how if you reverse the direction you have a nice way to work on your drop on recall?
Here’s the video:
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Thanks for this! We’re doing a lot more platform work with the In-For-Training guide dogs, and we have a bit of a learning curve. Perfect timing! I may experiment with turning our current platform upside down, as I think it’s a little big and I like the idea of the platform having “walls”.
You have done such great work with Brito. I think you should add to your school. a class about
teaching your small dog obedience. It could be level one, two and three. You already have most of the videos made.
I like starting my day off with Brito.
a class is running right now on foundation skills for small dogs!