Dislikes Rally? Is This Normal? Is it Me? Or Him?
When I got Jack I did so with the hope of casually competing in some dog events--agility, rally, obedience, etc. Since Jack has elbow dysplasia agility is obviously out, so we started doing some rally classes with the hopes of competing. I was under the impression that rally, especially at lower levels, is an easy thing that any reasonably trained dog can do.
Except my reasonably trained dog. It's not that he CAN'T do what is being asked of him--he just does not seem to enjoy it very much. In fact, the only time he does seem to be interested in what we are doing is when he is doing off leash rally in class. When he is on leash he seems bored and hard to motivate, although he is very food motivated and will take treats with too much enthusiasm, but he is much more "fun" motivated. He still often seems bored even with the treats involved unless I hold it right in front of his face which them makes him completely unfocused on what we are doing.
He CAN focus, depending on what he is doing. When I take him swimming at the lake I don't usually break out the treats unless I have to recall him from a zoomie-fit, which is actually rare. He is very focused on retrieving in the water, and I actually have to force him to rest.
I've tried mixing up treat rewards with toys, and while that seems to get his attention for a second, that's it.
When I do rally off leash with him he is better, but I still just get the feeling he just isn't enjoying himself. We took a break from rally for several months, and then last week while we were waiting for his swim therapy I took him into the training area there, let him off leash and asked him to do simple front/finish stuff. He really didn't want to. He would sit down and scratch himself (which I believe is a "calming signal") whenever I gave him a command and was avoiding me.
I don't use corrections with him as I want this to make this as fun as possible. Actually, he seemed to have MORE fun and was MORE focused in regular obedience classes we took a couple of years ago where the instructor had me use a prong collar on him throughout the class. he does rally in a flat.
Am I doing something wrong? Do some dogs just not enjoy things like rally? I know some breeds don't enjoy obedience but most labs seem very into it....
Sally--8 yr old pit bull mix
Jack--6 yr old Labrador
Sadie & Runt--12 yr old calico DSHs
Pickles & Kiwi--3 yr old white winged parakeets
Yoda--1 yr old Quaker parrot
Solo--12 yr old Senegal parrot
Sheena--Quarter Horse--3/24/86-6/23/11--Rest Easy Sweet Girl~
Labs do it in the lake.