Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"My dog likes agility"

And that's usually followed by "More than obedience" or "more than other training."

And this may be true.

But agility is not inherently reinforcing for dogs. People are just plain better about reinforcing dogs for pieces of agility than they are about a sit or a down or a stay. A dog going over a jump or through a tunnel provides more satisfaction for owners than the sit or a down.

Why, I'm not yet quite sure. It's just another of those silly human things.

But that enthusiasm and reinforcement history creates a happy dog. And a dog that apparently likes agility more than sits or downs or walking.

Not that agility is immune to poor training or 'lumping' (putting lots of parts together before they should be!). But that is another story.

If only we could get everyone to love the sits and downs and walking as much. Then we'd have more enthusiasm for competition obedience. Go reinforce some great sits and downs and walking!

I love obedience.

1 comment:

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

I agree with you that people are way better about reinforcing behaviors in agility then in obedience. I think a lot of it is because the mindset in agility is errors are almost always the handlers fault. But in obedience the blame is always put on the dog.

However, I disagree that agility is not inherently reinforcing for dogs. My dogs just love to run and I show them that agility is all about running. Or in foundation agility my dogs just love stomping on things and had a blast just slamming down the teeter or standing on the wobble board, etc. I think my dogs get a lot more intrinsic reinforcement from doing agility then obedience. That being said, I believe it is my job to try and show them that obedience can be just as fun.