The Retrieve Over the High Jump

The principal features of this exercise are that your dog jumps over the jump, picks up the dumbbell, and promptly returns with it over the jump. The judge's commands are "Throw the dumbbell," "Send your dog," "Take it," and "Finish." Your commands to Buddy are "Stay," "Jump," "Give," and "Buddy, heel."

For this exercise, we introduce target training. As the name implies, you teach the dog to go to a target. After your dog has learned that, you can then place a jump or other obstacle between your dog and the target. In order to get to the target, the dog has to jump the obstacle. Target training gives the appearance of being a game. Yet it's a highly effective way of teaching your dog a variety of complex exercises.

Target training

The principle is simple, and so is the execution. Place a target on the ground three feet in front of you and Buddy. We use the tops of 2-pound cottage cheese containers as targets. Put a treat on the target (see Figure 16-1) and send Buddy to the target.

Make the exercise fun and exciting for your dog by using several targets, with the objective that he goes where you tell him.

Figure 16-1:

Placing the treat on the target.

Figure 16-1:

Placing the treat on the target.

The progressions are as follows:

^ Progression 1: Get your dog's attention on the treat, go to the target, say "Out," place the treat on the target, and let your dog pick up the treat. Repeat three times.

^ Progression 2: Start three feet from the target, say "Stay," place the treat on the target, go back to your dog, and say "Out" as you motion with your left arm and hand in the direction of the target. Praise him when he gets there and call him back to you. Repeat three times.

^ Progression 3: Over the course of several sessions, increase the distance from the target to 50 feet in increments of 2 feet.

^ Progression 4: Have a helper place a treat and then send your dog.

This is an exciting exercise for your dog, especially if he's high in prey behaviors. How many repetitions your dog will perform depends on his Personality Profile and the number of prey behaviors he has (see Chapter 5).

Anytime you work with treats, make sure that your dog is hungry. Depending on the number of his prey behaviors, you may need to use something special, such as homemade liver treats. Experiment to find out what works best to keep your dog interested.

Getting Started With Dumbbells

Getting Started With Dumbbells

The use of dumbbells gives you a much more comprehensive strengthening effect because the workout engages your stabilizer muscles, in addition to the muscle you may be pin-pointing. Without all of the belts and artificial stabilizers of a machine, you also engage your core muscles, which are your body's natural stabilizers.

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