I have a great dog – her name is Whiz (short for Wizard). I regret giving her that name! She whizzes around like an out of control top (or one of those kid’s toys that flies if you pull it back and let go). She gives me about two seconds of attention on the course, and then she is running over an A-frame or through a tunnel and then I know it’s over for our run. What do I do to make her a Wizard?
It’s funny how our dogs live up to their names sometimes, isn’t it? Quick sure is Quick! I think you have a good start there, actually – if she gives you two seconds of attention, she can give you four. If she can give you four, she can give you eight… see where I’m going with this?
Here are a few of the problems I think you may be having that you can work on:
- Out of sight, out of mind. You mentioned that Whiz goes “over and A-frame or through a tunnel and then it is all over.” Most times those obstacles are when a dog can lose sight of you if you aren’t running to keep up. I know dogs have the advantage over us in speed, but we have the advantage of being tall and the intelligence to figure out line of sight.
- If you can’t be seen, be heard! No dog has x-ray vision (I know you beg to differ, they SEE those treats in your pocket!) but they have a great sense of hearing. When they’re in a tunnel, let Wizard know where you are vocally so you can keep her hooked on you.
- This is going to be your least favorite piece of advice. Go back a few steps. Play attention games – games where your dog is only rewarded by you, with you. Watch me and crate games are a great example of attention games. So many dogs find the action of agility itself rewarding, and so running away is self-rewarding. Make yourself valuable to your dog.
I hope these ideas help you rein in your Whiz-kid!