Saturday, July 18, 2009

Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! And Away!

I will write about Jack's Prep-To-Show time with Jeff as the judge and follow that with our Wildcard Novice showing at the Deland show.

First things first. On Wednesday, July 15, we rented some time at ODTC with Jeff as our judge. It was a very nice showing. Jack was just a wee-bit skittish on the Stand-For-Exam due to some unexpected movement distraction by the judge. We did it again and Jack really stuck it! Bravo! Our Recall exercise was really fast and well executed. I was happy and Jack enjoyed the time in the ring.

Now, on to our Wildcard Novice run in Deland under Mr. Jeffrey Kern (not the same "Jeff" as our Wednesday judge). Jack and I were third in the ring. The judge asked which exercise we would like to receive no deductions on and we selected the Heel-On-Leash exercise. So, to start, we heeled to the corner where the judge said "Left Turn!" and Jack wanted to continue straight ahead instead of turning. I almost tripped over him, but we continued through a Fast and then to the next corner and another Left Turn. Jack kept forging ahead, but he did sit on the halt. We did our About Turn and then our Right Turn. Our Slow was good. Another About Turn and then we had our Figure-8 exercise. Not too bad there, but we had a few tight leashes throughout the exercise. Stand-For-Exam was next. Jack stood and then the judge came to him, whereupon Jack started wiggling around. It was time for the Heel-Off-Leash and when I looked at Jack, I saw his eyes go wide and he just started running around the ring. The zoomies continued until the judge asked if I would continue the exercise using the leash. So, after our second go around with the heeling on leash, it was time for the recall exercise. Well...that was truly beautiful! Jack did a perfect front and a swing-finish wonderfully! The judge said it was really nice to finish with a positive!

Our final time in the ring was for the Sits and Downs. We heeled into the ring wonderfully! I had my dog with me! We began with the One-Minute Sit. Almost to the end, Jack just laid down. OK, we can still perform the Three-Minute Down exercise. Right? He knows how to lay down. He just did it. But, alas, not today.

We were the strongest team today in Wildcard Novice. We held all the other teams up!

During our drive home, I had time to think about our performance. Despite the fact we didn't do well, I still love Jack and wouldn't trade him for any other dog. I know we have plenty of work to do to be able to show despite the distractions. Jack knows everything that is required for Novice. That has been proven in our Prep-To-Show classes. It just takes time.

And another thing. About my relationship with God. Sometimes I do the zoomies and God stands there, shakes His head, but He still loves me and wouldn't trade me for anyone. Should I not do the same for Jack?

So, we are still Walking in Obedience.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

V2 Class - July 7, 2009

"And how was your week? What did you focus on in your training?" These questions were asked by Linda, our instructor, during our Tuesday night V2 class. She explained the concept of flooding, which is working on one specific thing all the time until the dog really knows what he must do, how he must respond to a particular cue, command, stimulus, etc.

Our focus this past week was on the Down exercise. I began this training like I have been doing all my focus exercises. Jack really works for his food. The way I started it was to place Jack in a down (I use the command - Floor). I would then proceed to fix his meal. I would set his food dish on the floor. During the first meal session I did not go out of sight, but I had him lay there and wait until I allowed him to get up and eat his food.

During each subsequent session, I started to go out of sight for progressively longer durations. Also during these sessions my roommate would be watching Jack to see if he moves from position. If Jack moves out of position, my roomate lets me know and Jack is totally surprised when I "catch" the "oops" and correct his position. So far, we are up to one minute out-of-sights and Jack is staying put.

Now, on to what we worked on in class. The first thing we did was our "Short L Practice", which is the smaller version of the Novice Heel pattern. We "offer, but do not lure" a cookie after each turn. If the dog isn't there to get the cookie, "Oh well, better pay attention and be there the next time." We did that well. Jack missed his cookie on the left turn just once. After that he was right where he needed to be to get the cookie. Three cheers for Jack!

The second exercise was Stand For Exam alternated with Sit-Stay and Down-Stay. Jack performed his "Sits and Downs" wonderfully. His Stand For Exam needs more work. Time for another trip to PetsMart for more "flooding" with this exercise. That will be my focus exercise this week.

Our third exercise was Directed Jumping. The distance between our jumps is increasing. The distance between me and Jack is increasing. We are both "getting it". One time Jack did not go over the jump. Oops! That was not Jack's fault. I forgot to look where I was pointing Jack to go. I was looking at him, so that drew him away from the jump. I have to remember to look where I am pointing!

Finally, I have to brag about Jack's Leave It response. When we were going into the ring for the "Sit-Down-Stand" exercise, I dropped my treat bag and some of the treats hit the floor. Yikes!! Jack is a vacuum cleaner when it comes to what is on the floor!! Well, I told him to leave it and he did! He watched me pick up every last piece and did not eat any of the pieces!

Tomorrow is Prep-To-Show.

Walking in Obedience!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Prep-to-Show -- July 1, 2009

Well...well...well. Wednesday night was Prep-to-Show with Joyce as judge and Cheryl as steward. If you remember our last Prep class (last Wednesday, June 24), I was kind of embarrassed at our performance. Embarrassed at how I could not keep Jack's focus on me and embarrassed at Jack's, now imfamous, zoomies.

What a difference a week makes! This time we did a whole lot better! Jack performed his sits every time I stopped. His Stand-for-Exam was solid. Our Figure-8 was OK. Not very well executed because of my tendency to step into Jack's space as we halted, throwing Jack off to the left to avoid my feet. I don't blame him for that. If I were him, I would get out of the way too!

Continuing with the evaluation of the Prep class, our Heel-off-Leash was much better than last week. I still lost him on one of the straights. He was more interested in what cookies were still on the floor. I just kept on walking and I could hear him running to catch up with me. I had my dog with me again! He chose to heel and he did not run out of the ring!! Success!! Our Recall was OK too. I still need to work with his fronts. They are still crooked, not all of them though.

Overall, I was happy with this performance. Yet I know we need to practice more with sits close to heel position, with fronts more straight, with me stopping without stepping into Jack, and with increasing Jack's attention to me.

Our homework for the Prep-to-Show class this week is to concentrate on:

  • Look - Get and maintain Jack's attention to me
  • Close - Increase our lessons to get Jack to maintain heel position when heeling and when we halt
  • Come Front - Utilize his sit box, stand with my legs apart and slightly bent, tossing cookies through my legs and not requiring him to front -- make it FUN! He is already fast in his recall, I just have to work on his "front accuracy"
  • Halt - Halting straight. This is more important for me to stop with my right foot and then bring my left foot up to meet the right one -- I need to think and practice this method until it is in my memory. When I stop with my left foot first, I have that tendency to drift toward Jack

Walking in Obedience!