The proof is in the pudding! I like this phrase, it’s a delicious word picture for me. But it’s the meaning behind it that I really like, it means that the true value or quality of something can only be judged when it’s put to use.
I am a person that learns by doing. If I want to learn the Tango, I have to get out on the dance floor with an instructor and do it. I could not, even in my wildest dreams, open a book and read about the Tango and hope to understand how to do it, let alone the nuances behind the moves. And most importantly for me, how it feels to actually execute the moves. Learn by doing, that is me at the core, whether it’s dancing or dog training.
Treibball, the new sport in the dog world, is breathing some fresh air into training. It is challenging and wonderfully weird. As with everything I do, I just jumped in to do it.
At certain learning stages it can feel awkward, and yet at other times wildly fun. I love that it is not concussive for my dogs or me, it is truly about team and working together, and it requires coming at certain behaviors with more creativity than some other sports.
All the behaviors I train for this sport, or any sport really, are trained with play in mind, play with a purpose as I refer to it. I like my dogs to fly, and encourage that, but I also like thoughtful. Combining play that has goals, instead of knucklehead throw yourself into the fence play, seems to work to encourage a strong team that works together.
Walk On and Wait are two behaviors that I feel are pretty useful for this sport, but can be challenging too. I use a mat or bucket for distance, directionals, tricks and walk on’s. I am finding this is helping with dogs that creep up on the ball or insist on pushing every time.
For me, it isn’t about the ball. It’s about word recognition and puzzle solving. While the task is for the dog to bring the ball to the handler, there are a lot of other things to think about while at a distance from the handler.
Here are two video examples
I filmed this today to demonstrate that just because the ball is there, it isn’t about pushing it unless the word ‘push’ is introduced. Playing around with different words, different behaviors with the ball present is really helpful. OH!, one thing I forgot to mention, when starting a new sport, always use the reward that your dog considers a great reward, not what you want your dog to consider a great reward. Super important to keep motivation high when introducing something new.
This is some fun we had this past winter while playing with walk on’s and wait. I wanted to strengthen the behaviors during play. We could literally do this type of work for hours, and I think we have!
Have fun working with your dogs… Nancy