Here are a couple of simple exercises that can help you improve your speed, timing and reaction time. As well as your dog’s sends and forward focus. They are easy to do just about anywhere – your garden, the place you normally walk your dog or at your training field. A dog should be able to run for the static toy and circle an object on cue, but you can avoid that last one if you have someone to restrain him.
To start with the exercise you need to set up a toy and then move away from it. The dog has to know where it is, so make sure he watches you place/throw it. The next step is sending a dog around an object in the opposite direction of the toy. As soon as you send the dog, you turn around and face the target (toy) and get ready in the standing start position. When the dog reaches you, start sprinting towards the toy and do so for about 10m. In case your dog has a really good forward focus you can set the toy further away and sprint until your dog reaches the toy.
The second variation is very similar, only that this time you send a dog, start moving backwards until the dog reaches you at which point you turn around and sprint towards the toy.
Obviously you reward both yourself and the dog by playing with the toy for a while when you are done.
If you are inexperienced with such exercises (and your dog lack’s distance skills and forward focus) start with short distances and slowly prolong them, as you both get familiar with the exercise.
It is really important that you try to do the exercises as quickly and precise as possible. It helps if you have someone to tell you if you nailed the timing – or even better – make a video of yourself and watch yourself do it, so you can process and improve your mistakes. You can start by doing 3-5 repetitions at once.
WARNING: Don't do this exercise without a proper warm out. If you have problems with your knees, keep your fingers up during the turn in the second variation of the game. Don’t turn on your flat feet, but mostly on the heels.
This exercises are prepared in cooperation with a personal trainer Rosana Krajnc.