View Full Version : getting started
01-18-2009, 10:16 PM
how do i get started on training my 1 1/2 yr old black lab to become a splash dog? he is willing to jump off things but not stay any advice is welcome
01-19-2009, 05:08 PM
First of all - I would say get your dog used to swimming and jumping in all different locations and in different types of water (pool and natural bodies).
Also come out to a competition and participate in the practice time. Take the time to get your dog absolutely 100% confident jumping into the water from the exit ramp before taking them up to the dock. A lot of people rush this step and you'll find the dogs very hesitant about taking the "leap of faith" from the dock. Remember the dock sits 2 feet above the waters surface - this can be quite intimidating to some dogs, not to mention the blue bottom pool.
If you find that your dog refuses to jump from the dock into the pool, then go back to the ramp until they are comfortable and confident. Just wading in is not confident and comfortable, what you are looking for is a dog that is willing and anxious to jump from the ramp to retrieve it's toy.
My number one tip, NEVER push your dog into more than they can handle, if your dog refuses to jump there is a reason. You may not understand why but your also not a dog. Stay at the basics until they are ready and absolutely NEVER PUSH THEM IN.....
If your looking for tips on the sit/stay, my suggestion, always start in non distracting environments and keep the duration short in the beginning and build up. Use treats or toys as rewards and keep it fun for them. As you build up the duration and are ready to build up on the distractions, don't rush into thinking they will do it perfectly on the dock, practice, practice, practice in lower stimulating environments first and build up to the dock.
Another note, you don't have to use a sit/stay to be a Splash Dog - there are different techniques that are used, chase, place/send etc. Use what works for you and your dog.
Good luck and keep us posted!
01-20-2009, 02:53 PM
The SplashDogs site has a great newcomers guide at http://www.splashdogs.com/events/Newcomers.php -- we read it several times in preparing for our first competition last fall and it was very helpful.
Even if you don't have a dock, we found lots of ways to simulate the dock jump training (and as Urs said, you don't have to use the sit/stay then chase-the-toy technique). We still do most of our practice on dry land with a sit/stay about 10-20' in front of our dogs, then releasing them for the retrieve -- they enjoy this fetch variation since it builds the anticipation of retrieving (especially for my toy-retrieving obsessed Hannah). If you need help teaching a "stay", most dog training classes will help you with that skill or there are lots of tips on the internet if you google it.
When water is available but no dock, we often still simulate the dock by having them sit/stay away from the water's edge and then run & jump into the water (make sure it's a safe place to jump). They were jumping into pools, ponds, creeks, etc long before having to do the big 40' long and 2' high jump off the SplashDogs dock.
Ursula is THE expert and teaches dock diving classes in the Bay Area, but hope these additional tips from someone else who just started are helpful. Hope to see you at a SplashDogs event in the future!
01-20-2009, 05:50 PM
You have come to the all time best place to get a range of feedback that you will not find else where.
All second that of Cyndi's that Urs is our Queen but even the best of the best will break a stay....and we have proof in our Splash world of that one...lots of laughs.
If your dog loves water and retrieving a toy you have what it takes to be a Splash Dog.
The people at the events are all fantastic in giving their support to new teams of a handler and dog. You really get a lot of hands on feedback from all of us.
Every team has their own way of making it work for their dogs individually. There is no 1 specific way, you get to be creative with your dog.
We look forward to seeing you at the next event. We will be there in mass groups at the Auburn event. Hope to see you there.
Gianna & Miss Talla Dega
Most of the members have already answered your sit stay question with solid advice I would just like to reiterate the practice, practice, practice. I always start with feeding time on the sit stay command. Its a great time to get them used to behaving and then being rewarded with their meal. Spend 10-15 minutes a day with your dog on just the basic commands like sit, down, stay. The more repetitions you do the better your dog is going to get. Remember your dog does not really understand English. They key in on your body language faster than they will on just words alone. There are several beginner dog training books out there I would suggest grabbing one to help guide you. Or take a obedience class, their more for you than the dog but well worth the time.
The one experience I like to share with new people to dock jumping is my personal experience I had with my own dog. I took my dog down to our local practice area with just a racket ball. He started out okay because he has a high drive for fetching but he lost interest quickly. Our trainer at the time noticed that we had hit a wall suggested we take a break but were more than welcome to try again later that day.
So while we we're waiting for our next training session I though about his motivation. He usually gets really excited with squeaky toys. So I went into the local pet shop that is like 15 feet from where we practice and found a toy my dog wouldn't drop for the hour wait. Our next session came up and from that point on he has been a dock jumping fool. My point is the toy can make a big difference.
Bottom line is you know your dog better than most trainers. Think about what gets them really excited and bring that with you.
Lastly don't let your dog's sit stay keep you on the bench, this might take a really long time to get down. The biggest part about Splash Dogs is having fun with your dog. There is nothing in the world more rewarding than to be in a competition and have your dog jump off the end of a dock to a crowed of people. The sit stay will come with practice and patience. Always keep training sessions fun. When you get frustrated your dog will shut down so that is a good the time to take a break. Always try and end your session in a positive manner.
Good luck and hope to see you on the docks.
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