Practice with dog free style exercises
In order to help the dog trainers and expand their training abilities you could have them work out their own training runs. First position a number of traffic cones, buckets or posts that are either color coded or visibly numbered. Then give each of the trainers a blank three by five card (or slightly larger) and have them work out how they are going to move around the field. They must go in a straight line from one bucket to another and follow certain requisites such as:
- Somewhere along the pass they must include at least one change of pace, test of “Sit”, and three turns.
- Somewhere along the pass they must include at least one “Come”, two changes of pace, and a test of “Down”.
- Somewhere along the pass they must include at least at least one object that their dog will collect and carry from one bucket to another.
With really advanced teams you can even have them set up their passes without the aid of buckets or other fixed visual aids. In these types of trials the dog trainer would present their program to the course instructor and would need to include the various commands that the dog is familiar with. For example “Sit”, “Stay”, “Come”, “Fetch” etc… The trial would take place in a freestyle setting and should last not more than two minutes. The course instructor could give this exercise as home work or at the beginning of class.
Pointers for course instructor:
If these exercises are not having the desired results or the teams are not performing well. Make sure that the instructions are simple and easy to understand and that all of the teams are understanding them well. Make sure that the difficulty level of the exercise and trials is suitable for the teams that you are working with. Remember also that in almost every group there will be one or more teams that find certain types of exercises just two difficult and complex.