I've written a quick summary of notes from the weekend ... remember, this is my take on some of Ronda's general advice that could apply to many rather than my detailed notes on specific skills we worked on.
Be consistent - insist on the behaviour you want in training AND in the competition ring. You must be prepared to give the dog a consequence - even if in the ring, i.e. leave the ring if they don't perform the contact how you want (and have trained) it. Let ONE go and your on the road of 'fighting' contacts for the rest of your trialling career.
Don't lie to your dog - let them know where they are headed next.
Your dog needs to know where they are going in order to prepare their take off/landing at the previous obstacles.
Don't handle each obstacle individually - handle the line
If you lead out - MOVE as soon as the dog takes the first jump - don't just stand there waiting for the dog to catch you up!
The quickest way to teach your dog NOT to trust you is to correct it for taking the wrong obstacle when your body language told him to do so.
Do not layer unless it's going to buy you something!
All courses are a play on:-
- pin wheels
- straight lines
Practice those in their entirety, not as individual obstacles, and your courses will become a number of "lines" rather than a heap of obstacles.
Motion begets motion! Move! Run!
Teach a default to "side" position, i.e. come to side after a jump for a tight turn, etc. Ronda prefers to push the dogs rather than pull so a default to side means a push for distance work.
Only give them what they need - they'll take as much yardage as you give them.
"oops" does not build trust in your relationship ... do not oops, sigh, groan, uh uuhhh or use a "nope" or "try again" marker for incorrect performance - simply just try it again. However, be careful that you were not responsible for the incorrect performance, i.e. if your body language told the dog to take that obstacle don't make them repeat it - continue on and reward so the dog is successful. Then try it again (if in training) if you need to correct your own handling.
We seem to be micro-managing most of our dogs and courses - we need to trust our dogs and get out there and work the lines as a team.