In this week's training video, you see some practice for show ring preparation. Seven-month-old Halo is almost ready! You can see that she's able to juuuuuuust about do an entire course, in a new location, with no treats or rewards.
What?! No treats or rewards?!
Correct. In a competition, you can not use any treats or toys as a reward. So what do you do?
Some people "pretend" to have a treat in the ring. This is not a good idea. I always make it very clear to dogs if I do or do not have a treat. It's unfair to the dog to pretend to have a treat and then not provide it. I think it would be like your boss saying, "There's a big bonus for completing 100 sales calls," and then you'd work hard, and then "You don't really get the bonus, but thank you for completing the sales calls!" Wouldn't you hate that? And how long would it take you to figure out that the next time your boss offers a bribe, it probably won't happen, so why bother?
Some people take a "do it or else" stance. The reasoning goes like "If you do it, you'll get a treat. Unless I don't have any treats. Then you're going to get IN TROUBLE for not doing it." This tactic usually backfires after a couple rounds of competition, when the dog realizes that punishments for failing to comply aren't going to happen in the ring either -- discipline is not permitted in the ring any more than treats are!
So what's a handler to do? The answer is coming up in the next post!
(P.S. And for those of you who've been asking about good old Charlie the pit bull, he gets a cameo at the end of today's video. Although he's literally never done rally EVER, the grizzled old veteran gives it a fair shot! He's about 11 years old; I think he's looking great!)