I came up with this exercise many years ago, when I first started field training. In retriever field training we do something called a wagon wheel drill, although it is a little different than this, it does have components to it where the dog really needs to focus on lining up correctly and focusing where they are to go and then following through with going where sent. I could see how this exercise could be adapted to training the directed retrieve in obedience.
I choose not to use my gloves on this exercise but rather a treat on a white target plate. This makes it not only more fun for your dog, but also more challenging! You can start by lining your dog up to the different plates and sending them prior to adding in the turn and send which is much harder.
TIP: Start with only loading the plate you want the dog to go to with a treat so that he is not rewarded for going to the wrong plate.
In this video, I have done this exercise before with Mighty he makes it look easy, but it is challenging. Start with your plates further apart and build them closer on success. If your dog goes to the wrong plate in the beginning, there is no treat on it. On your second send give the signal and walk with him past the teaser plate and then let him go to the plate you wanted. I use target plates – or what I call cookie on a plate (which was Patty Ruzzo’s coined term whom introduced plates for obedience exercises 20 plus years ago) for almost every exercise I train in obedience. It is one way to take the formal out of obedience and put the fun in!
Happy Training Janice