Throughout the course of Rugby’s career, I have developed an obsession with go-outs. Rugby has worked on go-outs more than any other exercise. I’ve discovered great go-out drills in that time, and some useless go-out drills too. Now, Diesel is reaping the benefits of Rugby’s hard work and the superior running-in-a-straight-line skills he has developed.
I use a hidden retrieve to teach the go-outs, which makes the exercise almost identical to the directed retrieve exercise (a bad go-out indicates a poor retrieve, or failure to take direction using this method). Wooden dowels are our targets, sized appropriately for the dog. The diameter and length should be similar to the dog’s dumbbell. I found an old, unused flag pole at my house for Diesel that was cut into 7 pieces.
During his introduction, I want Diesel to learn three things.
- The target is ALWAYS in front of you. If you passed it, it no longer exists.
- You will always be facing the direction of the go-out when we start.
- The target is ALWAYS in front of you.
If he understands those things, I should get a relatively straight go-out, much longer than the required ring distance that will be easy to polish, proof and perfect.
It took him .02 seconds to decide the targets were fabulous, and because he is so long, he added distance quickly during the first two sessions. This video is of Diesel’s third time doing go-outs. I am using four targets, with the closest one at 20ft, and the furthest one at just under 30ft away.
My job during his introduction in addition to making sure he learns the three things listed above is to determine what signal works best for him, and pay attention to his confidence level. He will tell me if he is ready to increase distance, or if we have moved too fast.
He needs to stay at this level for a few days until he is just as confident going for the last target as he was for the first one. Notice that even when the target is not as close as he expects it to be, he never turns around to look for it (yea!).
Also notice that after I gave my third signal, Diesel jumped up, took a step, then stopped and couldn’t remember what it was that he was doing. Something about that signal didn’t give him the information that the other signals had. That signal is not the best choice for this dog.