A dog that wants to work will become precise. However, a dog that lacks or loses his desire to work will lose any precision quickly.
You CAN have both when training and showing your dog!!!!
While training a new dog or skill, I build enthusiasm first! My dog should want to work with me before I add precision.
I can hear you now “but precision is what is scored in the ring.” To me and to you that should not matter especially in the beginning or even at the end of a dog’s career. What matters most is having a dog that WANTS TO WORK with me.
A dog that wants to work will become precise. However, a dog that lacks or loses his desire to work for me will lose any precision quickly. Furthermore, it is far more difficult to get back the desire to work for me than it is to get the precision that I want.
So how do I keep my dog wanting to work with me and still work on precision? I use a variety of techniques. However, I mainly stay in what I call “FUN FLUX.” This is a state of every changing fun for both my dog and me.
In the beginning of the training of my dog, I teach my dog a bunch of games that will keep him interested, guessing, and wanting to work for me. These games keep our training more fun for both my dog and me. Yes, at first you have to plan out your training sessions, but before long the games and randomness of the games become a habit. Some of these games I even use as a consequence if my dog shows lack of effort.
Once my dog is “into a game,” I slowly start adding precision. While adding precision, I am always aware of my dog’s enthusiasm and willingness to work for me. If at any time I see him starting to get bored or not as fast responding to commands as I want, I immediately add more games to every training session. Once I see my dog’s enthusiasm back, I reduce the number of games. This is the “balance” that must be watched and maintained during all training sessions.
Balance is NOT 50/50. The balance between games and precision is constantly shifting. You must be mindful of how your dog is acting and responding to commands and cues. Many times I make adjustments during a training session by adding a surprise game or unexpected command or movement.
Keep your training in the FUN FLUX and you will have a dog that LOVES to train and show with you and is precise!
Here are a few really great “dog” items I use in everyday life and in training. Click on the link or image and it will take you to affiliate Amazon.