Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner

Agility Training...we're stuck on going forward

613 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  katieanddusty
I'm hoping one of the trainers out there can help me. Rufus and I have been working with our trainer doing Foundation Agility. He loves it and we're having a lot of fun BUT we're stuck on "going forward". Our trainer has me play with Rufus with a toy, get him all excited so he wants that toy, then I put Rufus in a sit and I stand beside him....I then throw his toy forward a few feet and release him to go get it...BUT, he stays sitting. He looks at me, looks at the toy and then looks back at me and doesn't move. Our trainer thought Rufus might be thinking I was testing his sit/stay at first so he stayed in position but we've been working on this for two weeks and he still will not budge. On Tuesday she had us use a different toy and we rubbed lunch meat all over it so it smelled really good and he got all excited about the smell. It looked like it was going to work because he got all excited and went for it twice but ever since then he is back to staying in a sit and refusing to move forward to go get it. Rufus is extremely food motivated but our trainer doesn't want me to throw food forward for him because she feels in his mind it makes it OK for him to pick stuff up off the ground and eat it. I should mention Rufus loves fetch, runs to get his squeeky ball, or whatever I happen to throw and brings it back for me to throw again but when it comes to doing it in a training session, he won't move. Anyone have any ideas for me?
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
My first thought is that Rufus does not understand his release word, since you mentioned you do release him.

So, I would back step and teach the release (I use OK and so will use an example)
- Cue the sit (or down or stand etc)
- Step in front of Rufus with a treat in your hand where he can see it
- If he stays, cue OK and let him release to the treat – you may have to repeat the release several times until Rufus ‘gets’ that he needs to go to the treat rather than you moving the treat to him
- Work on this awhile and then start alternating your position
- Work on alternating your position for awhile and then start varying the time Rufus is expected to wait

While you are working on the Release, I would also be teaching Rufus to run ahead to a target – I actually use an agility table (low height for youngsters) which they have been conditioned to run to. Initial training with the pause table does not include any position but does include lots of tug and/or treats. I want my dogs driving to the table. If you use tug, you tug while the dog is on the table but immediately stop playing if he leaves the table.

By teaching my dogs to drive to the table (or target or teeter etc etc), and running beside them for a while, I can eventually run slower and/or less distance while my dog is learning to drive forward on the GO cue.

I also use restraint sometimes, which can really build drive on the Go. To start this, kind of bend down while facing the same direction your dog is facing with your fingers in his collar. You should have one leg forward ready to RUN. The game is: you provide light restraint backwards on the collar while saying Reaaaaaady, Steaaaaaaady and release the collar right before you sprint forward with a GO : when your dog catches you, play or treat. This helps to teach forward impulsion on hearing GO. To help connect with the GO command you initially mentioned you can make a game of racing Rufus to a toy on the ground; then you would let Rufus start beating you to the toy as you catch up and play with his prize or use a food container and jackpot when you ‘catch up’. This is a great game and a blast to play especially once the dog learns it and just starts quivering with excitement when he hears the Reaaaady J
See less See more
Couple quick thoughts before I have to dash out the door:

* Try adding your release cue in there (like suggested above)... Have him sit at your side if that's the set up you want, and then use Release > Get it. If that doesn't work, try a big treat in your left hand... Sit > Treat just an inch or so in front of his nose > OK, GET IT> and you BOTH move forward as you release, etc.

Or don't get as formal as a sit for now.... can you get him just standing next to you adn then throw something while adding the OK, GET IT cues? Maybe we teach what we expect him to do when he hears OK, GET IT (which is move forward to the toy/treat) w/o the informal position first. THEN try it from an actual sit.
I don't think I would a release word, since teaching an "out" is a new command, not specifically the end of an exercise. I would do what everyone has suggested, but use a new command like "out". You might want to toss a really high value treat to get the dog to go ahead of you.
I'd maybe do a restrained send type thing as opposed to a sit-stay. Hold him by the collar, get him really revved up, push back on his chest a little bit (unless he's a really soft dog who doesn't like that kind of thing) and then tell him to go get the toy.

You could also try using an obviously visible target with food in it. I usually used a food dish for Dusty, sometimes food on the seat of a chair. You can also use a tupperware container (or a fancy stuff-able toy) with treats in it, teach the dog to drive toward that and then wait for you to come get the cookies out. That way he doesn't learn to go rooting around in the grass for food.

And I just find this video really fun ... what happened when I forgot that I'd previously used a chair as a target, and then put the camera on the same chair to film Dusty doing agility :D

See less See more
Thank you all for your suggestions (love the video). This agility stuff is harder than it looks! I'm STILL trying to stay upright when we're running and treating...keeping aware of Rufus, the treats, my surroundings and what I'm doing is tough! I can't tell you how many times I've run into a tree branch! Thanks again...I'll let you know how we do!
Oh dear! Low tree branches near agility courses aren't fair! But people run into the sides of jumps and stuff like that all the time. Normally walking the course beforehand helps you get a better spatial awareness of where everything is (if I miss a walk-through, odds are pretty high that I'll end up almost going over a jump myself or something). It takes a while though to get used to thinking about so many things at once, but you'll get there.

Good luck! :D
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.