KEEPA: KNOWING WHEN TO STOP
FIRST OF ALL I send Keepa out for a short marked retrieve. As he goes, I immediately start to follow him without him knowing. As he gets about twothirds of the way out I blow the stop whistle. The first time he does this, he does his typical “nonchalant” stop, looking around a bit, but then is shocked to see me so close to him. This immediately gets his attention a little more than at distance.
As he gives me a real focused look, I immediately throw a ball to him to catch with a lot of vocal praise. He happily bounces back to me with the ball, knowing he has done well. I walk him back to our original starting point and send him straight out for the original marked retrieve.
It is important not to overdo the stop whistle because it is easy to make a novice dog “sticky”. If he stopped randomly on the way out to the memory mark, I would have temporarily ended the drill until I had his drive back. Fortunately he didn’t.
I repeated the exercise several times and he did stop quicker because he knew there was a good chance I would be quite close to him and that there may well be a fun ball coming his way if he looks at me.
I repeated this three times before trying the stop without me moving. He stopped beautifully, and a good sign that this was working was that as he stopped
“Keepa is not focusing 100 per cent on me; he would rather I didn’t stop him”
he looked straight at me and wagged his tail waiting for the next instruction.
After sending him for a short marked retrieve, Ellena blows the stop whistle when Keepa is about two-thirds of the way out
As soon as Keepa looks sufficiently focused on her, Ellena rewards him by throwing a ball