I'm intending to play this game at Beardie Camp as my one and only attempt to teach people how to reward, how to plan and how to keep records.
I've started a Yahoo group for them and have posted the handout and it's score sheet to the website files, they'll also get a copy when they book in.
As the concepts will be very new to many of them, I've also posted this diagram and the following explanation to the group and I thought it might be interesting to share it here.
There's been a lot of worry that perhaps some dogs might be too inexperienced for camp. Well Koda has never competed, he's only just 12 mths old. Yet I would have no problems working him at camp and here is the main reason why:-
I KNOW my dog.
I know his limits, I know his capabilities because I keep records that tell me where we've got to. I plan, just like the plan that I've completed here - just as you'll HAVE to for the first session of camp - (after that it's up to you!) I then note down the results and use those for the next plan.
Sounds BORING doesn't it? But I never waste my dog's time, I never waste class time. I know exactly what I'm working towards every time my dog steps up to the mark. When my dog can do something, we move on - you'll notice that not every start-line sit is rewarded. Why not? Because he should by now be well able to sit at the start line, so I'll reward the difficult ones, or the odd one - not every one - rewarding is not only about rewarding what you want, it's also about working for rewards, raising criterion when appropriate. NEVER never never about mindlessly stuffing food down a dog's throat. Reward in my case is all I've got and I make very sure that I spend it wisely.
This game in the main is about making you as handlers conscious of the rewards that you throw away, or allow your dog to take for himself!
So, each person will have to explain the reasoning behind their plans - except for those who go for the straight 20 point fastest clear round - those people we'll be watching for rewards on course and this is an option I could NEVER go for as my mouth would automatically reward my dog if he made some of those turns!
So for little Koda:-
1 - Sensible behaviour towards start-line. Food.
He's a baby Beardie right? A real clown, loves people.......approaching the start line is NOT a time for play, it's a working time. He can play at the common, at home, at the shops when I take him out, NOT when he's working, I keep the two very distinct. It's still hard for him and so if I get it I'll reward it.
2 - As above. Food.
3 - Straight lined up sit held for count of 7 after I’ve gone 3 paces away. Tug.
We've been working hard on balanced sits, not all flopped over and this is about where we've got to, making allowances for the fact that it would be an exciting environment for him. An exciting high value reward for a real achievement.
4 - Heelwork past DW. Food.
We're not yet at a stage where I want him to do contact equipment in an environment like that, so I'll collect him out of his sit at the start line - without doing the jump - and do fast paced heelwork (not formal comp type, but a nice walk at my side preferably horizontal <G>) to the next jump. Food is quick and easy and rewards appropriately.
5 - Set up for #2 – no larking about! Food.
That means quickly and sensibly into the sit. No jumps and kisses, smooth heelwork into lined up sit. That would be a GOOD reward, but fairly calm - so a chew on a tripe stick perhaps, something that lasted as Koda tends to inhale treats.
6 - Turn over jump #2 wrapping wing within 2 ft. Food.
He should easily be able to do this, but still it's an exciting place, so if he does it I'll reward it.
7 - Sendaway across #3 – I stay behind it. Toy.
This is a rehearsal for how I would want to handle the weave pole entry and also reminds a baby dog that I won't always be going with him. Toy will be thrown on ahead.
8 - Heelwork past weave poles. Food.
He can't weave yet
9 - Looking at and jumping #6. Toy.
In this situation my movement would be quite distracting for Koda as I'd run with him, jumping the jump would be really good. I actually think he'd need a hand-touch cookie for a failed attempt there, but I'm willing to gamble.......................<G>. High value thrown tug toy.
10 - Successful completion of #789 combo. Toy.
This is well within his capabilities and a thrown toy would be a good reward.
11 - Jumping and turning over #13. Food.
Within his capabilities, but a distracting environment.
12 - Finish. Toy.
Play back to set-up area.
In all 12 rewards, all planned. This I would have no problems doing in one of my advanced classes, as I'd take no longer than someone who had a couple of attempts at the weave entry.
Koda would achieve a LOT and I'd then have my results to plan out next session.