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Leerburg's Q&A database has 3318 entries from multiple categories.

 

Categories: Competition Obedience

Q. How do you encourage and maintain engagement when you don't have food/toys?
Hi Cindy!

I'm excited to learn more about engagement! My question is in regards to using food/toys. I understand when first teaching engagement, it is necessary to use food and/or toys, but what do you do afterwards? If you're at an obedience competition trial, you can't use food/toys in the ring. How do you encourage and maintain engagement when you don't have food/toys?

Thanks!!!!

A. It's all about teaching the verbal cues for engagement (or any other behavior), and then changing your reward schedule and fading them so you can get out there and compete. Have you competed in any dog sport before?

I also see that you have purchased the Finishing Work DVD last October. That covers how to randomize your rewards, etc.

If you are interested in AKC competition obedience, you may want to take a look at the Janice Gunn videos. The methods Janice uses mesh nicely with the way we train and she's one of the top obedience competitors in North America. I'm actually going to a work shop in Los Angeles to train with her next week!

  Response:

Oh yes!!!!! I love Janice Gunn!!!!! I will definitely look to purchase these videos! I do Competition Obedience with my Aussies, so I try to do a lot of distractions work, but feel I could be doing more. I feel like I’m missing something! I just competed my 2 1/2 year old Aussie this weekend in Novice-B!! His first run was a 1st place with a 195.5!!! But on the second day, he FREAKED out on me over the tripod stand and couldn’t really focus...got a 185.5!!! LOL!!! That’s distraction and focus issue, right??!! I appreciate your feedback and will purchase her video! Thank You!!!!

  Follow-Up Response:

Engagement will help a LOT; it gives you a way to stay mentally connected. Janice has some great little tricks for keeping her dogs "with her" in the ring and between exercises. It's all about building motivation which in turn helps with engagement.

The Michael Ellis videos on using food and advanced concepts of motivation are excellent too. The Ellis food video kind of picks up where the Engagement video ends.

Keep me posted on your progress, happy training. :)
  
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