Its been quite a while since we worked indoors. This morning it was pouring rain so I decided to bring in a few of my smallest Mark buckets to practice Sends and Recalls between three Marks.
Jake and Lil were so enthusiastic yet remembered to collect so they didn’t knock over the tiny buckets. Their sessions were so much fun, I decided to try running Takoda to see if he was able to stick his landings on such small buckets. I have not used these buckets with Takoda for many weeks since he is now a BIG puppy.
The tight spacing didn’t allow him to really run but I think the videos clearly show that he knows HOW to keep the buckets from tipping over… by collecting!
Marks are such simple props, yet they are so great for teaching many important skills:
* Practicing impulse control to remind Takoda that STAY is a behavior he is capable of maintaining if he is thinking about it. The tactile aspect of front feet on a mark bucket really help him to remember to THINK about what I am cueing vs. DO something based on my motion.
* Disconnecting my motion from Takoda’s motion by practicing SENDS ahead or laterally with me taking one big and definitive step and “bowling” the path ahead with my arm. I sometimes use multiple Marks to help him differentiate between GO ON and GET OUT.
* Disconnecting my position from Takoda’s position by practicing RECALLS with me standing or moving well beyond the mark I am releasing him to. I sometimes use three marks and ask him to stop on the middle mark while I stand near the farthest mark, which is REALLY HARD but he is progressing very well with this skill.
* Practicing collection which I think is helping Takoda learn how to turn tightly while maintaining control of his body. He seems to really keep his weight over his feet when running around the yard. I think practicing collection will also come in handy down the road when he starts jumping, doing weave poles, and of course working on contacts.
Its so fun for me to see how much all three dogs LOVE working with Mark buckets. I know I’ve written this before, but I have Sharon Nelson to thank for her ingenious use of Mark buckets!
(above) Takoda, mixing in some pivots