Monday, 22 September 2014

Watching your dog work

While I was hobbling around on crutches, my dogs went off to an agility foundations training camp without me. Or at least, they were worked by one of the instructors, and I sat in a lawn chair with my feet up.
It's a fascinating experience, being able to watch your own dogs work, especially when I was watching someone who is extremely experienced coax exercises out of a dog they don't know. In fact, it was pretty difficult to tear my attention away from what my dog was up to for long enough to watch how they were being worked to try to pick up positioning and cueing tips.

What was interesting was that Daisy worked far, far better for the female instructor. She was polite when worked by the male instructor, and did as she was told, but it was a noticeably more restrained, and less engaged experience with far less enthusiasm. Cybi, on the other hand, was completely the opposite. He seemed to respond better to a more assertive handling style, and got a bit silly if not being given very precise, firm instructions with few extra comments. I tend to default to working Cybi the way I work Daisy (very light commands, lots of happiness, occasional stops mid exercise for a "well-done" cuddle...) and it looks like I might be doing him a disservice by not working to his learning strengths.

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