Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Importance of Proofing

Proofing your dog training is something that I have always liked the idea of. When I see people like Susan Garrett or Greg Derrett do proofing work you can see how relevant and important it is. For some reason I have never really spent a lot of time doing it myself. I'm not really sure why. I guess it just seems like extra work and effort that you have to go to when you could just be running sequences. Once the behaviours are trained it's easier to get on with the fun stuff. Not to mention that if you test the behaviours there is a pretty high chance that your dog will mess up. That means slowing things down which is generally undesirable for most of us.

Training Sonic is something that I wanted to do properly. I've had a dog who five years ago use to be one of the best agility dogs in Perth. She was amazing, but my inadequate training and inexperience held her back. They say that the definition of stupidity is repeating the same behaviour and expecting a different result, so this time round I plan on being a smart dog trainer!

I have been merrily proofing the weavers for the last few weeks and I plan on continuing with it using some different scenarios for Sonic over the next few weeks. But this week the weavers have been packed away and my training plank/improvised dog walk has come out to proof his 2o2o. I started out throwing his toy as he was running down, followed by throwing toys all over the ground, followed by placing some of his favourite toys on the plank itself. The first couple of days he made plenty of mistakes ranging from coming off early to not quite going into 2o2o. He had also slowed down a bit, especially when he saw a toy on the plank. However during last nights session he wasn't just going into position, he was launching himself into position with a gusto that I have not previously seen. I didn't think Sonic had any questions about his dog walk performance. Until last week he always went straight into 2o2o and at a fairly reasonable speed. Now I know he did have questions in certain circumstances, questions which he seems to now have answered as his performance has improved 100%.

So this post is a reminder to me for my future training that proofing is worth every minute of setting up.

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