Today, Marge and I attended an obedience match at our dog training club. It was the first time we matched in obedience.
We did two runs; the second was loads better than the first. Marge was sort of distracted on the first run. I'm trying really hard to get her to understand that the reward is both hidden and delayed (as opposed to in my hand at all times - definitely one of my training flaws), and I think in focusing on that, I didn't help her enough. I got my act together once I realized I needed to change my strategy.
Several people commented on how good our heeling is. It didn't feel good.. though it was better on the second run.
So why don't I just run through the exercises and talk about how I did today with them?
Heel on Leash
- Overall, she was pretty good. Distracted on the first run but seemed to get better as time went on. Her halts were lacking tremendously, partially because her attention wasn't as great as it usually is. She got a little laggy in some spots, but when I did my footwork correctly, things seemed to come together more.
Figure 8 on Leash
- Again, got better in our second run. The first run, she was laggy and distracted around the outer ring. This exercise is one of her strongest, so I was a little concerned about that. However, she did better the second time around. She also paid no mind to the fact that we actually had people as posts for a change.
Stand for Exam
- AWESOME. She held it fine twice for a person she knows well and then held it with a waggy tail for someone she has never met before in her life. Happily, this exercise is proving to be a HUGE non-issue as it stands right now.
Heel off Leash
- Like the heel on leash, this was patchy.. we really just need to work it more.
Recall over Jump (UKC Recall)
- This was hit and miss. One time, she missed my verbal cue and stared at my cluelessly. She had a couple of perfect ones and some not-so-straight ones. She did NOT break from the front position prematurely, though, which was a big deal (she likes to take it into her own hands and finish before I let her know it is OK to do so).
- Held both the sit and the down, but she was very interested in the Flat Coat working in the other ring. We did some really nice proofing, though, because the Open level dogs were doing their stays with the Novice dogs, so there were dogs moving around and people moving in to and out of the ring. Marge didn't even bat an eye at that stuff!
We do need to do more work with Honoring (the UKC's version of the down-stay), but I'm pretty confident in Marge's ability to handle it.
I didn't get any video, but here she is working out in the field with me recently. (Ignore the fact that my hands are in all the wrong places!)
I think we've totally smash our obedience goals for the first half of this year. If things keep panning out this well, we'll be entered in our first UKC obedience trial on June 11th.