I was lucky enough to be able to test a dog IQ game- I chose the Dog Brick, and I took it home.
Wow, I really can’t believe how much fun it was! Quick and Nova both loved it. Nova became obsessed. Have you ever seen a hard-core person playing bingo or any kind of gambling game? Where they’re stamping all the dots very very quickly, intense concentration on their face? So focused you could set off an alarm and they would keep playing? Nova was just like that with this game! She absolutely loved it, and begged for more when I put it away! I laughed so hard as she snuffled and pawed at the board. She’s really very cute! She got the concept right away.
Quick was a little more difficult, but he enjoyed it too! I had to make sure he found at least one treat very quickly, or he got frustrated. However, I intend to slowly work up his endurance with this toy. It’s low-key to play with- lots of fun, quite easy if you want it to be- so that’s good. I plan to slowly lower the reward rate so he has to work harder for his treats. I think that’s a good thing, because he really needs to learn that it is okay to not get the treat within a few minutes.
I haven’t had this much fun with my dogs since Quick was introduced to his first tunnel. Nova, Quick, and I had a real blast with these toys, and I hope you try them out for your dogs- let us know if they’re as much fun for you as they were for us!
Most Agility organizations don’t allow treats or toys in the ring, or even within ten feet of the ring. (I believe NADAC is considering amending this rule, but has not changed it as of yet. They may not change it at all. Do any of you NADAC experts know for certain?) I’m not certain how I feel about that. As I’ve heard pointed out, pockets nearly always have treats in them, and can be forgotten about completely, as evidenced by how many times I’ve washed them in my pockets. I like the way UKAI handles it – you may bring a toy if you want, and it’s a fun run. Treats can just get all over!
However, for treats, I think that while they can be allowed on course without providing an undue distraction to the dog (so long as they are not rewarded on course) if they are safely contained in a treat bag or ziplock bag. What do you think? Treats, yea or nay?
Not all these tricks or stunts are safe and healthy – but the overwhelming majority is just weird, awesome things dogs can do of their own accord! I would not have included some of these clips if I made the film, but as I said, there’s too much good in it to overlook!
Don’t be tempted to approach obstacles the easy way! While some obstacles should only, ever, be taken one way (the broad jump comes to mind) other obstacles should be taken in a variety of sequences, from a variety of angles.
Go ‘around the clock’ for weave entries, jumps, and tunnels. While you should vary the angles for contact equipment, be careful not to endanger your dog by calling them to the side of the obstacle too quickly and making them jump off the side.