In our last podcast, we discussed the subtle trap that a greater than expected distance poses to an experienced dog. We devised the following exercise to test whether or not our dogs were using an expected distance between obstacles to predict their path on course.
In our training group, we ran this exercise with 2 very experienced dogs and 2 very inexperienced dogs (barely 2 years old). Which dogs fell for the trap? Both experienced dogs (I even used a verbal/physical bypass cue that she ignored)! We think that over the course of years of training and trialing in AKC events, the veterans have developed a rhythm to agility that depends on the very consistent spacing between obstacles that led them astray on this sequence. Our young dogs, without this reinforcement history, ran the sequence perfectly. Watch Sarah (success) and Esteban (off course) run the sequence in the video below.
Will your dog fall for the trap? Make sure the tunnel exit is pointed directly at the right wing of the red jump and let us know!