Here’s a short update!
Petey had kennel cough (or perhaps just a cold) for a week so not much training until recently. But he’s as good as he’ll be for this weekend so we’re done.
All that’s left is to make sure I don’t choke. This is the first time I have done a “dog sport” but not the first time doing timed, scored competition. I used to be active in amateur motorsports. Appropriately, the sport I competed most in was autocross, which was also a solo sport and involved a sea of pylons.
Things I learned from motorsports (especially autocross, since it looks like a confusing sea of pylons)
- Visualize the entire course in your head while you’re waiting your turn. I used to sit in the car and drive the course, including when to throttle, brake, turn, shift.
- Once on the course, look ahead! We were always at least two stations ahead in our head, so that nothing would surprise us, and we could plan our entries efficiently.
So hopefully my previous experiences will help me stay focused and cool.
All that’s left is to cue clean and consistently.
One exercise that I did with the Karen Pryor Academy was to demonstrate a ten part behaviour chain. We had to have the ten behaviours pre-selected, trained to stimulus control, and also cues clearly defined. When under pressure, there’s a tendency for our cues to change (due to stress, our bodies stiffen, our voices change tone, or we just totally forget what the cue that we’ve trained for is) so the better we can define our cues and practice them, the more likely they will stand up under fire.
So here are all my cues for the behaviours needed for CARO Rally Novice. Within the rules of the sport, I chose them to incorporate verbal + visual components simultaneously, because Petey is terrible at verbal cue discrimination.