Practicing AKC's Advanced Teamwork

2 days.  That's how long I have until Lance competes in the AKC Advanced Teamwork class.  Over a year ago I begged our trial chair to offer this class at our club's obedience trial.  I wanted new exercises to train and I thought the class sounded completely cool!  It was a great plan and at the time I had about 14 months to train everything.  Then 10 whole months, over 6 months, and now 2 days.  Yikes.  It's not like I haven't worked on anything over the past year, but I certainly didn't give this class the attention I wanted to.
I initially put off the training because I decided to work hard on phasing out the food in Lance's training and this mission was incompatible with training new exercises.  Operation no-food went really well (yay!) but somehow this still remained on the back burner.  Oh well.  The training I have done has been really fun.  Lance loves learning new things too, and he certainly loves all the food treats he's been getting recently as we try and cram for our exam!

The Advanced Teamwork class is non titling and involves a complex heeling pattern and the judges choices of 4 other exercises out of 7 choices.  Most of the exercises are variations of ones in utility.  I made a cheat sheet of rules here.

1. Object Placement- Here the dog goes out to a thrown object, sits and keeps it in his mouth, and then goes to the directed cone and drops it, returning to the handler without.
Likelihood of our success- poor!  Lance does have all the key points trained.  He has a distance interrupted sit while keeping the object.  A distance send to the cone.  A distance drop.  And a recall while leaving it.  But put them all together and the chances of one breaking down is high.

2. Scent work- Dog is sent from 30 feet away to a pile of 10 objects, all different objects, only 4 of the same material.
Likelihood of success- high.  This is just the basic utility exercise so training to different objects wasn't hard.  The hard part has been trying to find a variety of objects that are easy for Lance to pick up.  Our chance of failure will likely be if Lance doesn't like the feel of an object in his mouth (since of course I still need to practice him picking up all the items!)

3. Seek back- While heeling the handler drops a black glove and continues heeling.  Dog is sent back to find it, the glove will not be straight forward.
Likelihood of success- high.  While I admit I have really never practiced this, I have no doubt that Lance will run out and look for something to retrieve!  We've done find the article pile so this is very similar.

4. Moving stand, sit, or down- While heeling, the dog does a moving stand/sit/down on judges order while handler keeps on heeling.  Dog is then called to heel as handler stops.
Likelihood of success- moderate.  Lance's moving down and stand are in the bag.  A moving sit was actually very hard for him.  Calling to heel should be easy from any position.

5. Baseball Gloves/Drop on Recall- Dog is started at the #2 base position, with glove behind him.  Handler is across the ring and calls dog to come, cues a down halfway.  Then directs dog to the correct glove like in the UKC exercise.
Likelihood of success- moderate.  Lance has done the CDSP baseball glove (go out style) pretty well.  He still needs practice on sending back to #2 sometimes.  There's also the chance that Lance won't do his drop on recall, or will start heading to glove #1 or #3 before I cue the drop.

6. Distance Control- Dog is left in a sit/stand/ or down at the end of the ring and the handler cycles the dog through a posted order of 6 position changes.
Likelihood of success- moderate, although I expect creepage.  Lance is mostly very good, but the down to stand is his hardest and he sometimes sits instead.

7. Send Away- Handler and dog start at one corner of the ring.  Dog is sent to a cone straight ahead at the other corner and then does a sit/stand/ or down at the cone (judges choices).  Then the handler directs the dog to the other far corner (diagonal from handler, perpendicular to dog) where a chalk box is set up for the dog to do a sit/stand/ or down inside.  Handler than starts walking and cues the dog to catch up into heel position.
Likelihood of success- low.  Hardest and newest exercise by far!!!  First Lance had to learn to go out to the cone, which in and of itself wasn't hard.  Some difficultly lied in the fact that we start next to the ring gates and Lance sometimes wanted to just head to the side and touch the nearer gates instead of going all the way down.  Then breaking :( the sit he is so used to doing from directed jumping in utility and cuing a down or stand.  We're still not complete at that step.
But hardest step was the perpendicular send to the box.  Coming up with a hand signal was very hard as my hand raising means come in towards me and take the jump from utility.  I settled on the opposite hand pushing across my body, although this does turn my shoulders and technically is a no-no. Oh well.  Lance's success rate on the first try with this send is maybe 70%.  Then actually getting him to stay in the box instead of automatically jumping in and out and heading towards me.  The sit/stand/down problems from the cone are the same.

Overall, not the success rate you want before a trial!!!  On the positive side, since I don't expect anything other than complete failure I should be very relaxed.  Only one other brave soul is entered with me and I know they're in the same boat.

For those curious, here's a video of our practice of some of the exercises:

Kristen  – ( October 18, 2013 at 3:49 PM )  

HORRAY!

We entered last January and then I was too scared to actually do it (super excited dog that day) and we had to leave for another commitment before it was our turn. I haven't seen it offered around here or in any surrounding state since so we may never get to show off our cool behaviors.

Riley and Stella  – ( October 19, 2013 at 2:50 AM )  

Makes me smile watching him work. Such a happy guy! Good luck at the trial.

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