Saturday, October 8, 2011

Not Too Shabby

What am I doing right now? Avoiding bagging the 300+ lbs. of meat that I have thawing in my garage! I'll get to it, but I also wanted to get a post written before I once again became too unmotivated to.

Last night I had both danes entered in our obedience club's match. Heffner was in Beginner Novice and Bess was in Graduate Novice, the classes that they'll be competing in at the national specialty. Over all I would have to say that their performances weren't too shabby. I knew that we'd have things to work on and after doing full run throughs, I've got a better idea of what specifically we need to work on before next Friday night. Thankfully our club is having matches every Friday night in October and I have both dogs signed up them.:0) I'm trying to be as prepared and trial ready as we can be.

Bess was up first. The Graduate Novice exercises are relatively new to her. And to up the funness of it all, her recalls have been an issue of late. As in I call her, and she holds her stay like a freaking champ! Two thumbs up on the stay (and the reason why I'm going to try using a different word with her in hopes of getting over that), two thumbs down on the recall. Our instructor has been fabulous at giving me some ideas on how to work through this with her and they have been working as of late. But in a higher stress environment where Bess would prefer to let the stress reign and not think through these exercises like she is fully capable of, our recent work went down the tube a little. But that's okay, I figured out how to fix it and I also figured out how she gives away when she's not going come on the first command.;0) She's a trixy little minx that one! You see, her ears give her away. If she's going to come on the first recall command, she's giving me great ears. By giving me great ears I mean that her ears are fully alert, forward, and she is clearly waiting for my command. If her ears are off from this position by a hair, then she won't come on the first command. This is very good to know. And she was also very consistent on this. Oh yes, and did I mention that the majority of the exercises in Graduate Novice involve recalls?lol All I can say is thank goodness for our obedience instructor and thank goodness for our awesome obedience club having these matches that will have the dogs and I in better shape for the trial!!

Overall and considering Bess' proclivities of late, she did very well and I'm incredibly pleased with how she is coming along. And she totally rocked the Open stays!! Since Graduate Novice has an out of sight down stay, we went in with the Open dogs and did the full stay exercise. She nailed it!!

After more runs it was Heffner's turn in Beginner Novice. I am toying with how much warm up time he needs. The way that we do our obedience lessons, he doesn't get much warm up time at all and he can totally handle it in that low distraction setting, but how much time do we need in a trial setting? So I gave him very little warm up and treated it more like we were getting ready for our lesson and I used food rewards during the run (Bess does not get food rewards during her runs, though she may get some in between exercises where we actually go up to the table outside of the ring to get them). Due to Heffner's reactivity, and the fact that he hasn't gotten out much this summer except on hikes, I wanted the cards stacked in our favor in this instance. He was definitely distracted by the furry dogs, i.e. golden retriever and border collie. But we worked through that. He is fully capable of learning that depending on the setting he really needs to learn to work through this reactivity. He's learned to deal with it in an agility setting, now he needs to learn that obedience is very similar. We had two particularly distracted moments during the run, but overall, not as bad as I thought it was going to be. We are definitely going to have to work on the front now because he's decided that coming to front includes a down instead of a sit. Oy! Again, things to work on and be prepared for next week. I'm going to try giving him a longer and better warm up and see how much that helps him or if it makes a difference at all.

Ruthie got to come along for fun to watch. She was very good in her crate and I only heard her whine a little bit while I was behind the curtain during Bess' stays. I toyed around with her a little after both danes were done and most of our stuff was loaded back into the truck. She had some adorable fronts and her attention on me is just awesome!! She was working really well even without any food rewards.:)

So two thumbs up for last night!! I hope everyone's weekend is off to a great start! Now I'm off to the garage to immerse myself in raw meat for the next several hours.

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