Saturday, March 12, 2011

Obedience Class Week 1

Leo and I went to our first competitive obedience class Thursday night. First off I have to give a shout out to the dog club for a fantastic facility. Wow - it's great!

There are six other dogs in class - two Goldens, a Labrador, a Portie, and some other large breed, possibly an Anatolian Shepherd. Our instructor has a Briard. My understanding was that this was a novice level class. However, the other dogs in class - or at least their handlers - have a lot more experience than we do. They have attention during heeling, solid heels, and most can retrieve the dumbbell already (or will at least pick it up). We have our work cut out for us. We did a variety of things, starting with the dumbbell retrieve. Leo got to retrieve a treat and then a goldfish cracker. He did okay in that he came back to me. We need to work on his come to fronts so they're more prompt, don't involve jumping up on me, and are straight.

Then we moved on to some heeling, serpentines weaving amongst other teams, about turns, recall to front, attention exercises, moving out and returning to your dog, and much more. I can't even remember it all but the thing I was most proud of Leo for was his stays. We  did a fair bit of handler work without the dogs at one point and the dogs were all lined up along the long side of the ring, next to the gate, a couple of feet from each other, in down stays, and we were out in front of them doing about turns, etc for quite a while. Often our backs were turned and all the dogs stayed - including my Leo! He only got up once and it was only within a few inches or a foot from his original position, to sniff, and I was able to quietly get his attention and put him back into a down stay from where I stood across the ring. It was pretty awesome.

What we walked away with to work on right now includes attention exercises, acclimating to the dumbbell, and stays with distraction. Of course we won't success on all counts by the next class, but it gives us some things to consistently work on.

So far we've worked with the dumbbell twice. She suggested just using something tasty like squeeze cheese on it and letting him lick it off. I'm using the peanut butter flavored Kong filler stuff and he really likes it. So far so good. He's not afraid of the dumbbell, fortunately, he just doesn't get picking it up. Interestingly enough, Leo instigated an extensive game of catch at the office the other day, too, retrieving his mini tennis ball at least a dozen times down a long hallway. Hopefully we can continue that type of activity and I can use the same words I would use in obedience to start forming the association.

No comments:

Post a Comment