......or more accurately, a DUH! moment. I had Heffner out on his morning walk and we were working on some heeling at one of the local grade schools that we walk to. I've been a little daunted by his sits. He reads me just fine as I'm slowing down to a halt and he will stop with me. However, when I ask him to sit, he usually backs up a step or two and always ends up behind me so that I have to tork myself around in order to treat him (which I realize I shouldn't do because he's not in proper position). I couldn't figure out just how to go about getting him to stay right next to me where he stops. And then it hit me! I needed to actually fully take in and utilize some of the tips that I've been picking up from others' blogs!
The primary tip that I'm thinking of is quite simple. I need to pay some stinkin' attention to my body cues! Specifically how I'm dropping my shoulders or torking my body around. If I drop my left shoulder, it makes sense that I'm essentially pushing him back. If I drop my right shoulder, I'm pulling him in. The thing is, I've been holding the treats in my right hand and treating him while he's on my left. This causes me to twist around and DROP MY LEFT SHOULDER. In essence, Heffner is doing exactly what I'm asking him to do. And sure enough, I switched to treating him out of left hand and his sits were right square next to me! I seriously felt like smacking myself on the forehead!
My primary goal now with any obedience work that we're doing is to REALLY pay attention to my body position and what I'm saying to the dogs. I'm also going to over exaggerate my shoulder drops on my turns. I practiced a little with Bess this morning doing some weaving around a set of four chairs in the back yard. This morning was ball work morning for Bess (once Heffner's totally off restricted exercise, then he'll get to slowly go back to that), so I didn't do a whole lot of obedience related exercises with her.
I have a question for those of you working on obedience with your dog(s). How did you go about starting to train the finish left? I haven't touched finishes yet with either dog and I'm trying to get a feel for some good ideas on how to go about starting to train them. Any help is much appreciated!