Monday, November 15, 2010

A different approach

When I do the figure eight exercise with Cheddar, I always start by heeling toward the left post. More often than not, she bumps my leg at about 3 steps into the pattern. I know this is from lack of attention while heeling. She is NOT a "heads up" heeler. Anatolians just don't get into staring at your face whilst you spit cheese at them every few steps. So last week one of the gals that I was doing figure eights with at class, started off with the right post and when I asked her about it, she said her dog would get bummed out doing the same exercise the same way time after time. She decided to switch it up and the dog's attitude is much better. I tried it and by going to the right post first, the left bump at 3 steps is eliminated. Now by the time we get to the left post, Cheddar is mentally into the exercise and, so far, no bumping. I'm going to mix it up more by doing a post 2 times in a row, throwing in some slow and fast times, doing BIG and small circles around posts, doing an an about-turn midway through the exercise, breaking the exercise off midway with alot of praise and throwing a toy, etc. I'm having trouble getting her to "down" quickly while I'm heeling. This is in preparation for the drop on recall. She goes down on the first command, but it is sssllooooowww. I do reward her with food when she is down, but she is not real food motivated, and in essence I'm rewarding her for the SLOW down. Happy heeling!

Monday, November 8, 2010

First rally trials!

I entered Cheddar in the Bloomington Obedience Training Club rally trials in Novice B and it was a super fun time!! All of the rally competitors were super friendly and supportive. There were some other non-traditional obedience breeds there like a Coonhound and Great Dane(who got a 100 in Excellent!!). I was really nervous the first day and Cheddar and I were bumping alot on the heeling. I made it through the course and she got an 89. I was happy with that score and realize that I have to calm down and walk in a straight line!! The second day, I felt calmer and focused hard on each exercise, remembered to slow down on the left-about turn, remembered to talk to her throughout the whole course and things went better. Another big plus was that two gals were there competing from my club and the support from Jessie and Laura helped alot. I was thrilled when Cheddar got a 99 and first place! We stayed overnight and took a nice walk around Normandale Lake. It was beautiful and the perfect way to celebrate our first weekend of showing.