Thursday, October 14, 2010

Maggie is an Overachiever

Lately I've been working with Maggie on go-outs for Utility Obedience.  The method I've decided to try with her is to send her to a target using the term "run."

I started by teaching her to touch her nose red part of on the target.

Here's a close-up look at the target.
It's highly visible and the post can be extended if needed.

Then I slowly moved the target further out.  Maggie LOVES to run to the target.  Heck, Maggie's just happy that she's working and learning something new (did I mention how fun she is to train?).  Then I taught her to turn to me and sit when she's out at the target.  All the basic components of a go-out.

But, Maggie's an overachiever.  Touching one's nose to the red ball is just too easy.  Here's what I get now:

See mom, look how well I'm doing!

Maggie RUNS out to the target, whips it out of the base (note how the base in the picture is overturned behind her), turns quickly, and sits.  It cracks me up.  

It cracks me up because I've never asked to to put the target in her mouth or pull it out of the base.  It also cracks me up because the post is metal.  You may remember from an earlier post that Maggie does NOT like her metal Utility articles.  Yet the target seems ok.  She'll hold it for as long as it takes for me to come out and reward her.  Hmm.

I haven't yet decided whether or not I need to get her back to just touching the target.  She's doing all they key things I want her to do to right now: run out to a point away from me, turn, and sit.  Eventually I'll need to fade the target altogether.  Do you think it matters that she's picking it up?

A training conundrum.  Yet I love errors of enthusiasm.


  1. i don't think it will matter- once the target is faded there won't be anything to pick up and you can then reward for full criteria. at this point I'd take it. You may confuse her by changing things now.

    I thought teaching a go out would be so easy. Wicca has shown me that's not true. :) We have the running away in a straight line, but we would rather down than sit once we get there. :)

  2. Thanks for the note. I agree - I don't want to change and confuse Maggie or dampen her enthusiasm. Now the trick will be to fade the target... Oh, and take our practice on the road.


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