Friday, March 18, 2011

Obedience Class Week 2

Leo and I had our second obedience class last night. We've worked on the dumbbell all week, most every day. We brought it along to class but didn't get to it right away. Our instructor started out with us working with the jumps used in obedience. Leo was pretty nervous about the jumps. He never is in agility but these are quite a bit heftier. There's the bar jump which isn't a simple, small bar. It's square, larger diameter, and has dark black striping. Apparently that makes it imposing. Then there's the panel style jump. That's just not a style jump we've introduced yet in foundation level agility and he was uncertain about it. I finally got him to jump it when I went between the standards, too. Our instructor set a single, narrow panel piece out on the floor just for us when the others were working on the broad jump. We did recalls over the jump as well as sending them out to a treat with a recall front. He did that really well and was moving nicely. We'll need to work on coming to front both in a straight line at me as well as coming in as close as possible and being straight.

From there we moved into some other activities. She is really good about keeping us moving and changing up what we do. We worked with our dumbbells and showed a way to get the dog to take it by gently opening the mouth. I think if I keep working on it with him he'll accept that and start to learn how to do it. Even in just a couple three or four tries he was relaxing his jaw and settling his teeth.

She had us doing some recalls to front and a few more about turn exercises. She noticed right away most of the dogs were losing focus on the about turn and showed us a way to train it to retain they're attention. Gives me something to work on this week. We did the same with right turns and spent some time doing some right turn work in boxes.

One thing I really have to figure out is how to get Leo to stay in a sit when I put him in a sit. The little stinker is way too prone to slide into a down. I need to work on my commands and whatnot, too. That is, don't call out a correction as readily as I am prone to do. Walk back quietly and put him in position, give the stay command again, and walk out, etc. Plus, when he doesn't readily come to me - or even when he hasn't even had a moment to move - I need to remember not to pat my legs. I want to make it fun but those kind of things aren't "obedience worthy." *sigh*

I have a lot to learn but fortunately I am picking up some tangible things to work on at home and independently. I'm going to keep taking Leo for the next session/month and see what all we can improve on. In addition, our instructor gave me the name of an author whose books I'd like to check out. Apparently she's written some good books on training toy dogs in obedience. She (our instructor) readily admits to not having trained toy dogs - she has a Briard now - but is great about having asked others who have worked more with toy dogs for tips, etc. Looking forward to next week.

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