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Too much handler focus


CindyH
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A friend has a young dog that he's training for agility. The foundation classes he's been taking has been working on developing focus in the dog. This has really backfired and now she will not work away from him at all. She will go through one obstacle and then turn and come back to him. He's having a difficult time even teaching things like weaves because she is so velcro. Any suggestions to get her working out from him, or even just keeping her going forward?

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one thing for Agility that you should ALWAYS do is: NEVER feed the dog (rewards) from your hand! Otherwise, you get the dog that always looks back at you for praise.

 

The treats should always just appear on the ground in front of the dog or from a target.

 

Also, maybe just doing the "Cookie Toss" game. You toss a treat , dog goes and gets it. Then the dog might think that being farther away is a good thing.

 

The dog needs to NOT associate the handler with the rewards. The rewards should just appear by "Magic" when the dog does something right, not from the handler.

 

It worked with both of my dogs anyway, still, definitely teach the "out" command (move away from the handler) and the "go" command (go in a straight line until told otherwise), that should also help.

 

Hope that helps.

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Is it possible for him to train the dog to go to a target? Clickers are good for this, but not absolutely essential. He could use just a plastic lid, and put the food on that - starting small and then increasing the distance. I've seen this work really well in building go out confidence in a velcro dog.

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Guest TheRuffMuttGang

Clean Run magazine has a whole series of articles on "Unleashing the Velcro Dog" that are quite helpful. There is a new article in every issue and I am sure your friend could order back issues also if desired from www.cleanrun.com

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Thanks everyone, I've been encouraging him to use target plates, and now maybe he'll listen :rolleyes: . She was raised for livestock work, has an incredible amount of eye, is quite intense, and got rough enough with the stock that she was given to him since the breeder had her littermates that were better herding prospects. These foundation classes he's been taking haven't moved forward quickly enough IMO and she believes that what she's supposed to do is watch him constantly. It goes way beyond him feeding her by hand. I'll have him check out the Clean Run articles too!

 

Thanks!

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