When I took Grim's agitation harness out of the box to fit it to him, he was all excited. He then got serious, and seemed almost proud. He posed for photos, etc. In the house, I can get Grim's focus and engagement. He's "with me". Out of the house, I seem to lose it. However, just the word "work" gets him excited, and the sight of his harness set him over the top today. He couldn't wait for me to get it on him. Sat in front of me while I untangled the long line, whining on and off. Right out the door, he was "different". He was serious. He wasn't going in a million directions. He kept looking at me... "what are we going to do? Where are we going?" I had his complete attention. I first had my wife handle him so I could work the flirt pole.. show her what to do. I was trying to get more excitement out of him... get him barking a lot, etc. but I felt I needed to be on the other side of the leash. So we switched. I was then able to praise and encourage him from the 'right' end of the leash. He was giving 100% and is stronger than I realized! He was all business. His attention NEVER wavered. He was "with me" the whole time. I was able to teach him to take his prize and go with it quickly. He looked SO proud... like he was walking on cloud 9.
He didn't even THINK about trying to walk off anywhere. On the way back to the yard, he didn't pull ahead. He kept 'checking in' with me. He's now exhausted and resting and thinking in his kennel.
I wonder- do some dogs just "know"? Is there some piece of equipment, etc. that shifts them into 'work mode' or 'serious mode'? It was like flipping a light switch with him. When he was 'on', he was ON. No puppy games. All serious. I'm thinking about getting a light weight harness of nylon without the chest plate to put on him when I take him out to 'work' since this seems to be his 'cue'. I also like that you can put 'in training' patches on it so he won't be messed with by people. The biggest thing, though, is that it seems to ground him, and put him into 'work mode'. I saw today just what a terrific team we make when he's engaged with me. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing with him to try to get him and keep him more engaged with me. He is absolutely the dog of my dreams, and when things like this happen I see exactly how things are supposed to be. What (if anything) makes your dog "turn on" and go into work mode?? Did they seem to know right away? Is it possible that there's a genetic component to it? Maybe that dogs from long lines of military or police dogs have some genetic predisposition to do this?