The Corgi at the National Obedience Championship- Part 2

Pouring rain over the weekend turned to sleet on Sun.
I really couldn't be more proud of the Corgi and how he handled this huge event.  It was a fantastic facility with plenty of crating space, a very large vendor area, and even agility on the other side.  And it sure was busy!  I LOVED watching all the amazing teams and seeing the variety of cues given and handling between exercises.  For the most part dogs were very energized and I saw way more jumping around than I typically do at the Minnesota trials.  The jumping left finish was hugely popular and isn't something I see a lot of teams doing around here.  I also saw quite a few dogs do the bounce up, but then slowly continue the rest of the finish.  Likely the long days got to even the most seasoned teams.

The rows of chairs along the 6 rings made it very easy to hang out and watch the teams in the ring, but they also meant that spectators with their dogs and food could be only a foot away from the gates.  (Though of course everyone was very respectful of the dogs in the ring.)  Since Lance has recently been having spectating issues in between exercises and on setups, it could have been bad.  Thankfully he kept his glancing around to a minimum.  As mentioned in the last post, if heeling was first it was more likely to happen (ring #1 on sat and ring #3 on sun) and also on the wait for articles to be put out.  On Sunday I changed remind them of what they smell like, but it sure seemed like a handy way to make sure he was paying attention to me!

handling slightly on the article send as I remembered I could give Lance my scent before sending him.  I've never really understood why some handlers feel the need to shove their hand in their dog's face and
Lance won a trick contest at the end!


Points lost were in the following categories:
- Fronts and finishes. Started pretty dismal but I think Lance actually improved with almost every new ring.  Of course some were just really bad!  Fronts were hurting worse than finishes by far.  1 Missed finish signal in our first ring day #2.  And 1 no sit in front, also in that first ring day #2.
- Some fumbling of articles (4 of the 8), dumbbells (2 of 8), and gloves (1 of 4)
- No sits on go outs (3 of 8), all were on the first send.
- Pulling up short on go outs, or looking like he was close to doing so (4 of 8), usually on the first send but not always.
- 2 no downs on the signals- one of them 3/4ths of the way, the last one he just sat
- 1 sit on the signal stand- was standing all the way until just right before I turn around to face him :(
- Moving a step or 2 as the judge approached on the moving stand (2 of the 4)
- Curving and looking at the judge while returning with a dumbbell/glove (3 of the many retrieves)
- Glove pivots, mainly the 2 turns to glove #1.
- 1 no send on the very last go out in the last ring.  Didn't even flinch, but happily zoomed on a 2nd cue
- Heeling- laggy and wide that first ring and again on day 2 when heeling was first.  Otherwise some forged halts.  Did somehow lose 4pts under 1 judge when I have no idea how (but most teams were losing major points on heeling in that ring as well who looked awesome).

So major categories to work on:

  1. Focus, especially between exercises.  I've really only recently started re-proofing this with him as I mentioned in an earlier post.  Some issues were exasperated when I started having other people feed him on the group stays so now Lance is more likely to look to people with food.  I'm working on having people crinkle things and over food to him and having Lance learn to maintain focus to my back as he's likely to steal a glance when I'm walking away.  I'm also starting to add in a few games with me turning and tossing him a treat to chase as I get some distance away from him so that he pays more attention to my turned back.  I'm also debating about stealing back my Minders Manner I loaned out and setting that up behind him.  An obvious cue but the Robot is incredibly high value for him.
  2. Fronts and finishes.  never ending :)
  3. Go outs.  Need to continue our operation touch stanchion training.  Also need to continue my recent efforts at adding distractions to the side and behind the gates.  Lance really needs a lot more confidence building on this exercise so I will try an do as much proofing as possible to help build him up.
  4. Sits on go outs.  Not entirely sure what my plan of attack is for this.  I'm pretty sure the no-sits are pure anticipation of the want to jump.  He has a nice solid turn and in practice I occasionally work on calling repeated really short sits just to keep him on his toes.  I also don't do a ton of combined directed jumping with the go out portion, especially recently with out stanchion training.
  5. Signals.  It looks as though our down signal issue may be creeping back in.  That was incredibly difficult to fix last time as he made himself extremely stressed over the exercise.  It doesn't seem as though Lance is really stressing it over now, at least not yet.  I think the cookie tosses as my back is turned might help prevent some building stress as well as rewarding his down signals with the cue to rollover- his favorite trick. So far this is not an issue that has crept back into our practices in any form.

Huge pros from the weekend besides his happy attitude (biggest pro ever!) were:

  1. Holding his stay!  And he even did his stand in between the sit and down (for the 2nd show in a row now!) and held it for the entire minute+ it took for all the rings to be ready!
  2. Being OK with how close judges were.  Other than a few glances/archs on some of the retrieves, Lance didn't seem to mind the increased pressure from the judges.  I felt that most of the (super nice) judges were standing closer than I'm used to, especially on the fronts and finishes.
  3. Heeling- about turns.  Our about turn wideness seems to be fixed!  In the many, many about turns over the weekend Lance only had 2 sight seeing turns.  Both in the same ring where heeling was first and he wasn't quite connected on the first half.

Here are my rough notes from the weekend and our breakdown by exercises.  Of course I didn't get to talk to any of the judges about what the points lost were actually on:


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