Obedience Class III December 2012

Obedience Class III – Metal Dumbbell Retrieve

My plan was to finish my series of videos of where we’re at with the exercises in class 3 by the end of December, but here we are in the beginning of May with three more exercises to cover. I’ll show a video of our metal dumbbell retrieve today. We can finally train on our field again, as the snow is gone and grass is starting to grow there. Squid was very reluctant to grab the metal dumbbell, but she will do it now and she has done the full exercise. I focus on speed in both picking up and running back to me at the moment. I will try to train all parts, but keep focus on speed to get a really, really fast retrieve.

Obedience Class III – Send to Square

Tried some send to Square with Squid. She runs out well, and I have worked on the stop so that she doesn’t end up beyond the square any more. What we need to work on is the finish – recall to heel where she needs to run around my body and end up on my left side. I worked on that today using a send around a pole, which was a fun way of training it without having to ask her to stay. Here’s a video of send to square:

Obedience Class III – Recall with stand

I’m working my way through the obedience exercises in Swedish class III. We tried recall with stand, and I’m very happy with Squid’s speed in both recall and stop. Unfortunately, I haven’t put enough work on the last part of the exercise – running to me after the stop. Squid expects her reward after the stop, since that’s what we’ve been doing mostly. Time to work on the whole exercise, without losing the perfect stop. It’s all about stimulus control really, Squid needs to get better at distinguishing between the recall cue and the reward marker. Fun training!

Obedience Class III – Heeling and Sit from heel

I found some obedience time and inspiration today and made some video of Squid’s heeling and sit/down/stand from heel. Her biggest problem with obedience is a too high level of arousal (no doubt because of a lot of agility training in general, and circle work in particular). It doesn’t really affect anything else but the heelwork, but that’s bad enough. I’ve found that just walking with her in heel for many minutes, until I have something to reward (rhythmic movements and not touching my leg) works well. At least she doesn’t have a problem with endurance… Stand, sit and down from heel look nice. Only problem is that the heeling get’s even more bouncy when we’re doing positions, and that makes her positions more bouncy in turn. Must work more on her heeling…

Obedience Class III – Sit Stay

We came back home yesterday. It had started to snow when we came to Sweden on Monday, but we still managed to get home before the chaos started. It’s been snowing a lot today and traffic is just crazy in many places. Yo want to stay home if you can. I don’t look forward to a 5 hour (under normal conditions) drive south on Friday, but hopefully the worst is over by then.

Today, I’m starting a series of posts with videos of training all the exercises in Swedish obedience class III. Why? Because Squid and I need to get more obedience training done. It’s a year and a half since she competed in class II, so it’s about time we get started on class III…

First exercise is the sit stay in a group. This is what our rules say about it:

The handlers sit their dogs next to each other with 5 meters in between and leave walking 20 meters, where they stay visible to and facing the dog. The dogs shall sit for 1 minute without moving. Before the handler leaves the dog he is allowed to use the command “stay”. The handlers return to their dogs at the same time, on the ring stewards command.

Squid and I haven’t really trained the sit stay for this exercise, but I think that she’s got a good understanding of that “sit” means don’t move you’re feet until I tell you to. My first test today was to see how long she would sit for if I just left her and did nothing. Distractions can be challenging, but the biggest distraction is often to do nothing and just wait. I thought that Squid would lie down after a whole, and I decided to use a timer and note how long she would sit for. I expected her to fail, but I also decided that I would reward if she didn’t move her feet in two minutes (it was really cold, so not the time for marathon sit stays). She sat very nicely for two minutes, so I got to reward. Nice to see that her understanding of “sit” is strong.

Next session was on distractions. We did get Squid to fail once here. I don’t think there are many appetizing distractions that would get her out of her sit (dogs running through tunnels close to her not included, that might take us a few more years to master), but she can decide to lie down if she feels uneasy. My training should therefore focus more on getting her to feel safe and happy around some pressure (like dogs very close to her, someone using a harsh voice near her etc.) rather than using thrown toys and food lures.

I did get a question about the criteria for the sit stay. I’m satisfied as long as she doesn’t move her feet at all. She is allowed to move her head to look at a distraction (but I often find that she likes to stare at me when someone tries to distract her, she’s probably found it to be helpful). At the level that I plan to compete with Squid, I don’t think anyone would mind if she looked around as long as it isn’t much. If I feel like it, I don’t think it will be a problem to add criteria for her head later on.