Missy in the finals!

Missy and I qualified for the finals in the Norwegian national obedience championship today. We ended up in 10th place and the 15 best (out of 45 in the qualifying round) get to compete in the finals tomorrow. I wasn’t really prepared to get into the finals since we havn’t been training obedience a lot this summer. Missy is not very confident when there’re a lot of other dogs around and I’m not sure if she’ll be able to perform at her best in the big ring tomorrow, but we’ll try to have fun and not fail any exercises. Here is a video from todays trial:

Obedience and another video

We finally did som serious obedience training today. We went to a park and set up a ring. Missy had a really bad attitude when we started, it’s obvious that she is affected by the trial-like environment. We took a break and then started with some really easy stuff, just walking into the ring, and starting up. I rewarded her for good focus and attitude, and just started over again outside the ring if she lost her focus. She was soon doing very well and we did all the exercises. I was especially happy about her scented articles, that has been a problem for her in new situations before, but she was really good today. We need to work more on our send to square at home, it’s an exercise that really requires regular training for us. And we havn’t been training that much obedience lately… We’re doing this again tomorrow, in a new park with new people. It’s really good for us!

Here is a video of Shejpa from tonight:

A Chilly Midsummer Week

I have been pretty busy with teaching the past week and it will get worse in July. It’s getting cooler and we’ve had some rain here. I hope we get she sunny weather back in July, when we’re having a lot of camps. Thomas is away for a couple of weeks (working on his masters degree, studying search dogs). I’m home alone with Shejpa and Missy and we’re leaving for Sweden after class tonight. Missy is entered in an obedience trial on Friday (wich is Midsummer Eve, a national holiday). I have a good feeling when we’re training at home, but I also know that we’re not as well prepared as we should be. We havn’t done any serious competition-like training and havn’t trained enough in new locations with strange dogs lately. Missy is unfortunatly sensitive to those kind of things. My goal for the trial on Friday is to have a happy dog who keeps focused and confident.

Shejpa and I have done some more training on our running contacts. I have lowered the plank back to where it’s resting on the table. Mostly because I’m training on my own, but also because I made some other things more difficult. Since I’m training on my own, I can’t have a person with treats for Shejpa to run to. The best way to solve that was to let her run into her soft sided crate where she get’s a treat if I marked the correct behavior on the plank. She loves her cratebut she did initially have more misstakes with the crate compared to when she ran to a person. I think some of it has to do with focus and speed. It is easier to get focus and speed to a person and I need to do some value building for the crate between short sessions of running the plank. She is more likely to look at me when I’m ahead when I’m the one delivering the treat. That made her miss a lot in one session. She’s better when I’m behind and she’s very focused on the crate.

I have noted (from watching videos) that a lot of people training running contacts are doing the exact same thing through their sessions. They are stationary, standing in one spot and not changing their own position at all. I wonder why that is. Most people would agree that changing your position is important in all other agility training (weaves, stop contacts etc.). I also see how much my dog is affected by different body positions and movements, and I wonder if all the nice running contacts I see on video really are that good if you take away the lure and start handling. Any thoughts on this?

Pi’s debut in obedience trials

Pi did her first obedienece trial today and did really well. Her biggest misstake was sitting all through the long down, wich takes 15 points off the finall score. The rest was fortunatly good enough and she really surprised me with being very focused and correct. I was kind of worried that she would get distracted and start looking at birds or sniffing the air, but she was a focused and very happy setter. We got second place and are our final score was good enough to send us to the next class. These were her scores (points are out of a maximum of 10):

Long down: 5 (x3)
Greeting the judge and showing teeth: 10 (x1)
Heel on leash: 8 (x4)
Drop from heel: 8 (x2)
Recall to heel: 9,5 (x3)
Stand from heel: 9,5 (x3)
Holding dumbell: 9 (there was a strange misunderstanding between me and the ring steward, as you can see in the video) (x1)
Recall over jump: 9 (x2)
Generall impression: 9 (x1)

Final score: 167/200 (if you get over 160 points, you can move on to the next class)

Nice weekend

It’s been a very sunny and nice weekend. The house has been full of people since we’ve done a workshop and had students staying here. We had a nice dinner outside yesterday and we did training outside until 9.30 pm today and it was still light and warm. We’ve had lots of time to train our own dogs as well and with three dogs entered in obedience trials in may, we have some work to do. Pi (english setter, 11 months) is doing her first obedience competitions, Pavlov (border collie, 2 years, Thomas’ dog) is doing his second competition, this time in the second class and Missy (border collie, 4 years in a few days) is in the highest class, called elite. With a lot of dogs around, we’ve been able to do many long downs with strange dogs, wich is a good experience for our young dogs.

I took Pi to the woods this evening, and we worked on the retrieve and on some tricks (to improve her concentration for work in more challenging situations). Her retrieve was great and she really reminds me of a field bred retriever some times. She was very obedient and excited about her work tonight. We ended on our training field with some obedience excercises where I put her favourite food in a bowl and rewarded her with a send to the bowl when she worked well for a while.

Pi is in heat right now and our males are very interested in her. We always use the opportunity to do It’s Yer Choice with the male dogs, so Pax had to make some challenging retrieves in order to get the chance to sniff the pretty white lady. No problem with controlling the males around bitches in heat here, they just work even harder to maybe get the chance to go see.

We also got our little pool up this weekend. Missy and Pavlov went for their first swim this year. They really love swimming and I hope that I can use the pool to get them in better shape this summer.


There are more new photos from this weekend in the gallery

Missy’s nose touches

We have done a lot of training today, both obedience and agility. I made a video of Missys nose touches to see how they look from in front of her. They’re coming along great with very little training.

Missy also got to do some double box and I’m really not sure if she should be doing it. Running sequences with her feels like eating too much chocolate. You know it’s probably bad but you can’t really stop. If she is to do any more sequencing, I need to think and plan much better than I am doing now. I don’t really know where to start with her, but I guess I shouldn’t worry about double box until we have better shadow handling.

Shejpa was a superstar in the double box today. I worked some more on the turns that she used to slow down in and it looked great today. She also ran the entire session with almost no food, she really likes her new sheepskin tug toys.

The weather has been great today and obedience went well too. Missy and I worked a lot on the send out to a square, where we’ve had problems with her not stopping fast enough once she gets in the square. We finally had some kind of breakthrough today and I’m getting hopefull about the trial on thursday. Pi was also good today, showing great attitude, tug and concentration.

Another video

We had a nice, warm day and did a lot of training at home with some friends. Shejpa got to do shadow handling and double box work. I focused on getting her to move faster through turns where she has to turn tight and looses speed and I am pretty stationary. They often make her slow down a lot, but todays training made a big difference. Shejpa and Missy did some bend work and Pi did a few jumps in the Salo Spider. Missy and I worked some more on her nose touches.

Shejpa jumping

Pi and I did all the excercises in our novice obedience class. She has turned 11 months and our debut in obedience trials is getting close. These are the excercises in the easiest obedience class in Sweden:

– Long down with other dogs for 2 minutes with handler 20 meters away (we did 1.20 min today)
– Heeling on leash with turns, halts and fast pace.
– Moving down. Dog heels off leash, handler cues “down”, dog stays in a down while handler moves 10 meters away, turns around and returns to dogs side. Handler cues “sit”.
– Recall. Handler leaves dog in a sit, walks 15 meters away and turns around. Calls the dog who finishes in heel position on left side.
– Moving stand. Dog heels off leash, handler cues “stand”, dog stays in a stand while handler moves 10 meters away, turns around and returns to dogs side. Handler cues “sit”.
– Holding dumbell. Dog in heel position. Handler presents dumbell to dog for 3 seconds before cueing the dog to take the dumbell. Dog holds dumbell for 5 seconds and gives the dumbell back to handler on cue.
– Recall over jump. Handler leaves dog in a sit in front of a jump and walks to other side. Handler cues “jump” and dog jumps and finishes in heel position.

We have a few weeks left before our first trial and Pi is doing good so far. She needs to be able to heel for longer periods of time without rewards, get more experience in the long down and practice in competition like settings.

Missy is in the highest class (called elite) and has a competiton on thursday. She got to do her directed retrieve and scent articles today and did a great job even though we really challenged her understanding of the excercises.

A short video from todays training (Shejpa shadow handling, Shejpa bend work and Missy’s nose touches):

Training in the rain

It’s been raining since I got home on thursday, but we’re training outside anyway. I did obedience with Missy and Pi this morning. Pi is really doing great! She’ll make her debut in obedience in may and we have a lot of work to do. I have been driving the car down to our training field this weekend, wich makes it easier for me to do short sessions with each dog and then switch to another dog. It really does make a huge difference with the birddogs. I guess I’m to spoiled with my border collies and I’m so grateful for having many different kinds of dogs that can teach me how to be a good trainer. Short, intense sessions with high quality rewards and crate games gives me full attention from the dog’s that often wish that they just could be running around sniffing and looking for birds.

Shejpa got to play the two crate game that she really loves. We use it to get drive away from me on a straight line when I’m running straight and fast, but that isn’t really the problem when there’s a crate involved, so we mix it up with rear crosses and decelleration where she has to turn instead of going straight. She’s still turning wide, but she’s at least changing her line. Shejpa was really good today, with lots of focus and willing to tug.

Missy did some obedience, but I couldn’t help but to do some agility as well (we have an obedience trial on thursday, so we really should be concentrating on that). She hasn’t done nose touches in a while, but they were fenomenal. It’s amazing how much faster she has gotten a great nose touch, but I guess it’s a combination of me learning from my training with Shejpa and Missy being so much easier to work with than Shejpa. I gueas I have to make a video of Missys nose touches soon. We also did some one jump excercises and shadow handling. All three dogs did some jump grids as well. Shejpa was in too much of a hurry, but the other two did great.

Here is a video of some of our training today: