Obedience Training

I happen to have entered Zumi in an AKC obedience trial this coming weekend.  Apparently, I didn't really plan well with training time.  Looking at the calendar, the only practice we've had outside of my small living room since the October trial was one. The week after.

I get the building once a week before teaching classes.  But my night is Wednesdays and then it was Halloween, leaving to travel to Florida without me a few days early, staying another 4 days with friends driving her back, then the Thanksgiving holidays.  That leaves this Wednesday as our 2nd practice in over a month.

Unfortunately, it's shown with her arousal in retrieves again.  I just doodle on little things before dinner, mainly fronts and finishes.  The occasional retrieve has had more whining and even worse, back to some jolting forward on the throw. 

Zumi really needs her ball reward for dumbbell retrieves, not food!  The higher value ball reward actually helps to calm her excitement for the dumbbell as well as more satisfying victory laps to relieve some energy.

At least I feel like I'm tackling her other issues that showed up in the trial.

Down from a sit for the stay exercise was almost non existant in the trial.  She needed a 2nd cue on all 3 trials, even with a stupid hand point.  So I practiced added a little more excitement to the down, getting her used to hand point as I almost never do it, and adding in her "sad" chin rest to the ground to make it more of a trick. Plus "sad" is more down than down and it never hurts to teach "more"!

And then her finishes.  This isn't just a trial issue as it certainly shows up in practice.  On the left finish she usually is great, but sometimes can be a little wide.  So I'm doing left finish + side step.

And on the right finish, we do consistently have the problem even in practice where she doesn't come far enough, tucks her butt behind me.  It's why I rarely do it in a trial.  For this I started doing lots of cookie tosses forward before she fully completes the finish.  Also mixed in some right pivots so she has to go further than expected to come up to heel.

Here was Saturday's session on the down and finishes:



Zumi and I headed down for our first agility championship event, the US Open, last week.  While I had taken Lance to the AKC obedience invitational I had  yet to do any type of big agility event before now!  Vito's car anxiety kinda limits how far we usually go.  But Grandma had Vito and the toddler all week to let me fly down to our first big event and Zumi hitched a long drive down with friends!

She even got to hit the beach the day before the trial started to run with border collies!

The event unfortunately had us in the group where our very first run of the weekend was the official "Round 1" national run.  I expected Duckie to be really high and a little whee! with obstacle scoping and handled it with layering a jump in order to get further ahead for a blind. 

Zumi had other plans in apparently being just the tiniest bit lower in arousal than usual and a little sticky.  She got the layer in the sense she didn't come in, but she also didn't take the jump on the other side.  I really wish we had a do-over after seeing that this bit of stickiness was a constant for her runs! 

Overall I thought she did an incredibly great job with the environment. She held all her stays over 4 days and 9 runs.  She ran fast.  And except for the very last run of the weekend, we actually had zero "off courses" that weren't just a skipped obstacle in the sequence. 

Mainly it was just me struggling with maintaining the amount of connection with her that she needed.

I can't wait until next year!  And hopefully I'll actually get some regular training sessions in with a slightly older child once the ground is thawed again!


10 Years

Vito is officially a double digits dog.  He's finally 10 years old!  Vito has been going on about 14yrs old for several years now, going grey at the age of 5.  There have been numerous moments over the last 10 years where I didn't think he would ever make it to this age.  I thought for sure we would have to say goodbye to Vito at a young age. 

Yet we made it.  And he's taught me more than any other dog will ever teach me.  Has launched my passion for creating ring confidence in dogs.

And I truly can't imagine loving another dog more than I love Vito.

Vito's 10th year also marks the 10th anniversary of this blog. I started this blog to chronical my training journey with a new puppy and my adventures in discovering dog sports.  It evolved to include many more puppies from dogs I puppy raised to be service dogs, fosters, a returned puppy, a Zumi, and much more stories.  It hasn't always been kept up over the years but it's still kinda kicking after 10 years!

Happy belated Halloween from the crew and my mini kling-on. 

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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

Email: lkwaudby (at) gmail.com

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