DECISION MAKING is an agility terminology which refers to choosing the dogs path on a given sequence. When you have an option to either turn the dog to the left or the right at an obstacle you can use the decision making process to help you choose the fastest line for the dog. The questions you ask yourself are: Where are you coming from? Where are you going to? and Which is the shorter distance? Greg Derrett coined the phrase decision making, and the process that goes along with it.
In considering the training I want to do with Scoop in the next few months I thought that the decision making terminology also works pretty well to help describe my mission.
Where am I coming from? In other words, what skills do I already have in place? What does Scoop already know about the contacts and weaves?
Where are we going to? What do I want the finished products to look like? What does the topography of each of the skills I need to teach Scoop look like?
Shortest distance? What is the easiest and most effective training path to get the job done?
So now I have to answer my own questions!
Aframe Coming from?…. I am still working on the most basic of skills. Scoop is running over just half of the AF, which is propped on some boards about 10 inches high. Scoop sits 10 to 15 feet from the frame. I throw his toy beyond the frame about 15 to 20 feet. I release him to climb and he runs the board using true running strides over the board, not jumping. His rear feet are split at the run, and he looks like he is running on the flat ground. Going to?… I want the very same running behavior as I raise up the height of the plank, and to keep the skill after I put both sides of the frame together and raise the height of the frame. Shortest distance?…. consistently reward only the running strides, raise the board height incrementally but not too slowly.
Teeter Coming from?… He likes to jump on the end of the teeter and push the board down to the 2o2o position. The teeter is at half height. He gives me nice noise touches and waits for his release to a toy I throw out in front of him off the board. Going to?…more speed, regulation height, keeping the speed and the consistency of the nose touching while adding distractions and distance and building independence. I want him in a lowered front end position, like a bow. Shortest distance?..lots of games on the end of the teeter, slowing raising the teeter height and changing my position each time in relationship to him.
Dogwalk Coming from?….we can back chain the end of the board nicely to the 2o2o. I have done some longer back chains and even tried the full board a few times. Going to?… Totally independent DW at speed to his nose touch 2o2o position. Shortest distance…pretty similar to the training on the teeter.
Weaves Coming from?……… He can do 4 poles which I clicker trained occasionally over the last few months. I can stand still, he enters and exits correct without my help. Going to?….. better footwork and speed and doing the full set of 12. I have started him on channels and wires, but we have only done a couple sessions. Shortest distance?……. Weave pole daily training just like I have done with all my dogs on the channels and guides, incrementally removing the aids over the next few weeks.
Theres the goals, now where’s the beef?:)