an old pic of some not-so-great figure eight-ing. :)
For the first time since September, we actually did some formal obedience with instruction this week.
Monday night, my friend, who I am teaching the non-competitive agility class with, offered to help me with my heeling and footwork. She had me walk to the beat of a metronome (I think it was at 130 steps per minute) to keep me at a steady pace. We also worked on the footwork for about turns and halts (I'm doing much better with the abouts.. the halts, not so much).
Then, tonight, we dropped in to Show Ready Novice, kind of on a whim. Marge did quite well.
We worked our dogs with a partner on stays. The partner would distract the dog with treats, toys, food, noise, etc. Marge did very well - she showed interest in the person several times, but only broke her sit once (the first time). Once she realized that that was NOT was she was supposed to do, she stayed put with a little verbal help and tons of praise.
We then lined our dogs up and put them in a sit stay while the instructor heeled her dog around them, had her dog run across the room, etc. Once again, Marge showed interest, but she did not break.
She even held her sit when the big, gorgeous Irish Setter next to her got up and started sniffing her. I IMMEDIATELY went in and fed her.
The next thing we worked was some heeling. We were paired with a partner who was supposed to act like a "pushy" judge (one that comes in very close to the dog, circles the dog, etc). I had her only call forwards, halts, and abouts (we've barely even started on lefts and rights). My footwork was awful and that threw Marge out of position, but she didn't really pay any mind to the woman (who was, admittedly, going easy on her.. but still!)
Stand For Exam
This one was the biggie for us. We each took turns practicing the entire Stand For Exam exercise.
Marge was great. She did turn her head and look at the person coming in, but did not move her feet at all. We did this with three different people. I'm going to work on tossing her cookies while the person is approaching her to keep her focus on me.
I was very proud of this.. it was really the first time we ever practiced the entire Stand For Exam exercise with new people.
This was a lot of fun! We sat our dogs in a circle with their backs to each other, told them to wait, and then released them into a game.
After a few reps, we called front. Marge LOVED this. We did the same routine individually as well, using the whole length of the room.
Marge's fronts were not bad.. the teacher said she was doing very well, and that it was obvious that I've been working with her.
Her finishes weren't too shabby, either.
The one thing that did scare her about this was when one of the handlers was really pumping his dog up by running around and pounding around his tug stick. I simply fed her and took her off of the floor when I saw it was bothering her.
We ended class with a regular 1-minute sit. Marge, as usual, didn't budge (and was next to a Rottweiler, to boot!). I will say she was a bit distracted by what was going on on the other side of the room, though.
The plan for us is to enter one day of a UKC Obedience trial at our club in June. I feel confident that she'll be ready to compete by then and really does seem to like working on it.