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Going the distance

One day, after an eye opening agility class, I realized that even if I were the best athlete – and not only I am not, I have never been – I could never be as fast as Krypto. I could never make it in time to nail a front cross. I could maybe handle rear crosses, but with difficulty.

So there I was, sending a message to F. I explained the situation and a couple of weeks after Krypto and I were working our first class for learning to work at a distance. So after several months of foundation training using the SG method, there we were, changing our attitude, and perhaps our method. Krypto started learning to go through a half hoop and the cue “go”. So we were moving from an almost exclusively “body language” oriented method to a verbal one. The day after our first lesson I went to the hardware store to buy pipe and connectors and built my very own half hoop. And started training Krypto to go through it. So how does it work?

I placed the hoop on the ground and waited. No movement and no sounds on my part. Food reward and “good” to mark Krypto’s passage through the hoop. When that was an acquired skill, I added the “go” cue. That took us a bit of struggle. First we used “break”, then “go, break”, then “break, go”. I thought that that was it for the cue, but we realized that I will not need to release Krypto before using the “go”, because he will already be running. I will need the “break” only when I lead out, or when he does the table or if I do 2o2o contacts.So we removed the release word and now we are down to only “go”. We then started adding a jump frame (no wings, no bar) in front of the hoop, and sent Krypto to the hoop with the “go”. Moving away from the jump, and also moving the hoop away in the other direction. Praising the passage through the hoop.

What is the most difficult part of this exercise? Co-ordinating my “go” with the throwing of the toy (a ball) and the praise at the right moment. I even bought a short chuck-it to throw the ball, and worked on my aim to try and avoid Krypto turning to face me after passing throw the hoop because of my poor throw, or him patterning if I kept throwing towards the left or the right.

After several days my aim is quite good and so is my ability to say “go” without any particular inflexion (especially no excitement). Krypto is always at his best, loves this “game” and can now go through the hoop from 20-25 feet. I do not move, I just tell him “go”. And he goes.

Now I cannot wait to see how we will use this.

And Pongo is learning this skills too!

 

 

 

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