The Excitement of Learning Something New

gloves Oct 05, 2023
AKC obedience glove directed retrieve

Becoming a proficient obedience team requires repetition and rehearsing, but dogs are at their best, that is engaged and attentive, when they are learning new skills.

Inexperienced Dogs are always learning new skills, so are often looking at us as if to say, “What’s next?!”

Dogs Earning Titles can be simultaneously learning new exercises for a more advanced title. For example, preparing to show in Open while learning Utility offers a naturally motivating balance of perfecting a performance while learning new and very diverse exercises.

UDX and OTCH Competitors can be the most difficult to keep engaged as practicing known skills can become tedious if we fall into the trap of majoring in repetition and rehearsing instead of continuing to introduce new skills.

You may be overwhelmed by all the new skills you are currently teaching your dog, or you may be wondering how to continue to challenge your dog with new information. Consider the Directed Retrieve exercise, and all the possibilities in provides to keep your dog engaged and attentive, no matter what stage of training you find yourself in.

For our Inexperienced Dogs, the most important step of the Directed Retrieve is the first one. That is, learning to look at the object you are pointing to. You can start to teach your new obedience competitor the glove signal long before he knows how to retrieve. Watch the following video for some fun ideas that involve working on this signal in the house to a toy or even a treat on a white paper plate.



For your Dog Earning a Novice or Open Title, use your glove (toy or treat on a paper plate) as both a distraction and a reward. Try this exercise! Put your dog’s glove, toy, or treat on a paper plate, on the floor in your training area. Pretend you have forgotten about it, and practice another exercise (heeling, jumping, etc.). When you are ready to change subjects, sit your dog in heel position facing the toy and give the glove signal. When he is staring intently, send him and take time to celebrate his retrieve or reward. Put it down again, in a different location, and resume practicing other exercises.You may be amazed that your dog remembers where the object is after the interruption of another exercise. Likewise, you may find the toy on the ground is a distraction. In either scenario the game is useful. You either have a wonderful opportunity to teach your dog to look where you are pointing to locate his toy, or an equally important opportunity to teach your dog that paying attention to you is of utmost importance until you tell him to get it.

Keeping our UDX and OTCH Competitors engaged and interested is a challenge. It is all too easy to become focused on the smallest, mundane details of the sport. If you are in that situation, consider teaching your dog either of the UKC glove exercises, the Directed Marked Retrieve, or the Directed Signal Retrieve. These exercises involve multiple skills that the AKC DirectedRetrieve and the CKC Seek Back do not require. They are challenging and lots of fun. Watch this video for a short description of the exercises. For a more detailed description of both exercises, check out the two-part article on my blog. Part 1 and Part 2



If you’re like me, you love training your dog and want it to be fun for both you and your canine partner. Use the excitement of learning something new to your advantage to achieve that goal.

Did you enjoy the article? 

Signup to receive more free training TIPS & TRICKS from Connie.