Wow I had an eye opener last Saturday- I attended Silvia Trkman's foundation seminar at Best Friends Agility. I have always wondered how you add speed once you've got a dog working...now I realize the speed comes first. I took some notes and here is what I captured:
Silvia's puppy class graduates most know the following to graduate:Heeling, forward and back figure 8, backwards, recall from other puppies and much more!
Focus on SPEED
She started off the seminar by showing us an exercise you can do while out walking with your dog. She called it the recall/run. Basically play with your dog-teach your dog that you are fun too! Coming too you is not always a bad thing. Practice recall and run...attach a name when dog is running fast-go go go, even when playing. Play wrapping trees on walks -practice sends and wraps. Train to run to toy/weaves put toy down have dog run between 2 trees.
Don't punish dog for running full speed-even if it's not paying attention. Turn it around into a game..say go go go...add direction.
Teaching Obstacles: Restrain your dog to build up enthusiasm. Restrain say tunnel, tunnel, tunnel and release when do really wants to go to tunnel. Throw toy when dog exits tunnel or do come come come or do both...come come come...throw toy. Use 2 toys sometimes..so dog gives you one throw the other in the other direction. This doesn't discourage the dog from coming back to you with the toy.
For dogs that don't like to play with toys. Some like to chase grass-no pressure to pick it up. Play with water. Transfer treat value-throw ball-treat. Condition the dog that if they get the ball they get treat.
Sending around object
Send dog around object (cone, pole, jump standard) but keep dogs turn as close as possible. Dog should do 270 around the object. Helps teach collection. Can use to teach a command for collecting on landing side of jump. Use with tunnel to teach crosses ...have cones about 10 feet away from entrance/exit of tunnel set up in u-shape.
Agility is not about the jump -it is about the turns. With good turns you will be able to take the shortest path.
270 Exercise. Start with food close, wrap dog in 270 treat dog as it exits the wrap. Then as you add distance use reward with toy to build speed. When you have one wrap mastered, do from cone to cone. And finally add a word.
Tricks for Body Awareness: Name each paw. Lift 1, lift 2, lift 3, lift 4 etc. Box games-walk in box one paw at a time. Then make box smaller. Walon on a box to teach 2 on 2 off, front paws and back paws. Teach dog to place feet on object then move rear feet around.
Interacting with Scary Objects
Adj to dogs speed and comfort zone. Use a lid with socks under it, teach closing doors and drawers, push skateboard, push teeter. Use tricks in warmup to get dog focused. To teach teeter push down prop one end of the teeter.
Train stay separately from equipment. For dogs that lack moticvation, play on startline and go -minimize lead-outs. Train Contactts. Train weaves. Train Turns. Then once all solid put them together.
Weaves: Start with 12 channel weaves set very wide apart. Once doing 12 poles, do all angels for start, starting with one side, then do other side.
Call-to-Hand: From restrained recall, call to hand. Drop hand (slap leg). Blind cross is a good test of call to hand. Use a command (Silvias boo boo boo...don't take what you see, come to hand, and wait for release).
Train "around": Go around other side of jump.Useful when a dog needs to jump from away side of jump. Tic, Tac collection cues. Lefts and rights.
Try to work in front of dog as much as possible to encourage speed for faster runs.
Well...that's the general gist of what I learned..now I have to read up to fill in the pieces!