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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Food Bowl Distractions

In a short 6 weeks from now, Bosley will be competing in his first Advanced Rally Obedience trial.  Advanced Rally is all off leash, which by itself, would be fine.  The problem for Bosley and I is that Advanced Rally has the dreaded "food bowl distraction".  One of the stations is heeling in a figure 8 pattern around 2 pylons where you must pass by two food bowls with goodies in them.  Your dog is not allowed to try to eat the treats (remember, this is Bosley we are talking about, with no leash on and in the vicinity of food).  This is a huge training challenge for us.  I practice by putting yummy treats in a bowl and then covering the bowl with packing tape.  Bosley can see and smell the treats but cannot easily grab them.

Bosley has no problem ignoring the food when he is sitting or laying by the bowl.  In our house, it is the dog rules that they must wait in front of their food dish until I tell them they can eat.

Bosley will wait, patient and drooling, in front of his dish for as long as I tell him to.

Heeling with a food dish on the ground is a whole other story.  Bosley changes from a well behaved, patient dog into a food obsessed lunatic.  So we have been practicing heeling around the food bowl - with his leash on of course.  I click/treat when he walks past the bowl without looking at it.  We have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time - we need to work up to him being off-leash and in places other than the backyard and performing the exercise without a me having treats in my hand.  I hope we can manage to pull it off!

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