Saturday, January 23, 2010


I'm not so great about sharing videos and pictures that include me. Next practice I'll get a short one. Short is a start (...lower my criteria for myself, right?!).

Recent talks with training buddies, students, and professionals in varied fields is making me stop thinking about speed as something we add to behaviors after they're started, offered, and close to perfect. In so many settings, and especially for competition behaviors, it needs to be one of the earliest, if not the earliest priority.

Performing with speed can put a different emotional response to a behavior. It can make the striding and so the actual performance of a behavior different. It can make faults more likely or less likely to happen.

I need to constantly be reminded with my own dogs to keep this a priority. But I'm doing pretty well with student dogs. And even my non-sports students hear some of this when we talk about recalls. The slow puppies? Practice recalls at the time of day when they're most likely to be wild. We want to practice with speed!

A recent example is Griffin's contact behavior. We did about 30 reps with the aframe at Posidog last week. He hit every contact (1 was close to the top, one close to the bottom.). He was VERY consistent with his speed. But he felt slow. Reviewing the video, his performance was about 1.5 seconds long. I compared it to a video of Luna last year (...or the year before?) where she was moving almost as fast as she could, really trying, and looking fast. She was 2.5. I've been puzzled about that. I don't know that Luna can get faster...but Griffin sure can!

Some parts of my plan for increased speed:
- Use a thrown toy as a reinforcer rather than thrown food.
- Recall him over, or have his favorite people recall him over.
- Improve speed on all his behaviors.
- Reinforce speed in play
- Play and run with him more.

Off to think about speed....

No comments: