Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you, the tennis ball dispenser.
I was seriously wondering what to use as a training tool this year to improve Abbey's speed. I needed something motivating and rewarding. Now, my dog likes toys, plays with them all the time, thinks they are great...but she LOVES food. I find it more irritating to train a running contact with a food reward, though. Also speed and independence when working with food doesn't seem to turn out exactly how I want it. So, I figured, what if I blend the two? Now, I'll have you know I have tried all manner of treat-holding toys, I have used tugging as a catalyst for the food...but it still wasn't quite getting her driven enough. I wanted her to damn near come out her skin for a toy. So, going back into my mental archives, Abbey's favourite toy is a ball. On any given day a ball will win...even better, a tennis ball. If it bounces, rolls, has little feet on it, squeaks, and can fit easily in her mouth, she loves it. I have seen Abbey play with Cuz balls, tennis balls, kong balls, airhog squeakers, superballs from out of the vending machine. The dog is nuts for balls. So, I decided I would meld her favourite toy reward with her favourite reward overall.
I got down to business cutting a hole in my tennis ball large enough to stick treats in, but not too large as she would be able to get the treats out herself. Then, I put that baby to the test. I haven't seen Abbey run that fast since she was about a year and half. I knew that speed was still in there somewhere, I just had to find the right motivational tool. One I could chuck away from me to improve our distance and independence work. What makes this goody all the more interesting? It only comes out in agility. Oh yeah. So far so wonderful, this girlie gets the picture. We worked in the yard today AND we will be renting our indoor training center hopefully next week. Stay tuned!
~All American Team