Whenever you practice a training exercise with your dog, always make sure that you quit while you're ahead AND while the dog is still keen for more.
Ripley, the tricky Cocker Spaniel has been learning 'hold'. He came to us with an utter refusal to hold onto anything, unless he was running at full speed. Together, we have been experimenting with every possible variation of 'hold' that I can think of, in order to figure out what will work for him.....and finally.....after MANY months....we're making progress!
For the past couple of days he has been given a training-dummy to hold at meal times. He has to sit very still and hang onto it while I prepare his kibble. In any other situation, he would be scuttling about excitedly and totally unable to sit still, because there was something exciting in his mouth.....but when I'm preparing meals, I have his FULL attention!!
This morning he was extra proud of himself for holding a training-dummy for two full minutes (I was feeling a bit slow with my annual Christmas-cold) and as soon as he finished eating, he wanted to do it again. Absolutely no way!! I've learned through much trial AND error, the importance of stopping when an exercise is going really well. It's extremely important to end on a high, so that the mental image of doing it correctly is the one that sticks in the dogs mind. So, off we went into the kitchen for a much needed Lemsip.
Ripley did his usual trick of patrolling the perimeter, looking for something to 'fetch', eventually ending up at my feet, sitting suspiciousy still......There he was, 'holding' beautifully and looking extremely proud of himself. Maybe....just maybe.....something is beginning to sink in?!