CDSP's tagline is "the sport your dog would choose". Why? talking and treats. Obedience is great, a well performed run in a trial is a thing of joy and beauty. John Q Public stares in amazement, beginners wish for such a performance. And dogs think "well, that was stupid, where are my treats?". Formal Obedience aka AKC, UKC there is no talking. Judge says "forward" and you zip your lip till "exercise finished". There are no treats, just the party in the crate after the run. In CDSP, Companion Dog Sports Program, there are both, talking and treats.
No, not all the time, not luring the dog through a run "look Skittles, a cookie, follow mommy, follow cookie" NO! but when the judge gives a command, the handler can give a command, "FAST", hurry,, "HALT" sit, "ABOUT TURN", with me.. and when the judge says "EXERCISE FINISHED" before the dog or handler move onto the next thing, the handler can give the dog a treat. WOW. I've had many the high end handler say, "if I could just bring a cookie with me or get one extra command...." In CDSP you can. Extra commands cost the team 3 points. Imagine how great the dog will feel, having maybe missed the first signal for the down to get that second signal.. thinking to himself "oh, that's what was wanted, sorry, I was a tad distracted by that door opening behind me" and the handler smiles... and the dog files it away... down, smile, all good remember that. Enough of that kind of happy reinforcement, and signals isn't such a scary place.
Multiply that happy effect over many levels and many tasks required in an obedience routine. It can make obedience a happier place, while being a titling sport of its own.
My old gal, Hawke, H.A.T.E.D. obedience, she was my novice A dog, but didn't get a CD out of novice A, younger minds prevailed. When she hit 9 or 10 or so, she deemed it appropriate for me to get her to a CD in AKC. She LOVED CDSP, there was no (in her mind stupid) second heeling pattern ( I did it once, YOU go walk it) and she got treats. She loved it so much she earned her CD-CCH3! (33 qualifying runs in novice, it was her happy place.
For some dogs, its a stepping stone, for some its a landing zone. And CDSP, is "the sport your dog would choose"
Author: Barb Burri
Barb Burri is an accomplished competition obedience, rally and CDSP competitor and official. Dog Sport University is privileged to have her as part of our team. Be certain to check out her webinar, Intro to CDSP.