January 25, 2009

Pretty good obedience runs

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Today was the obedience Show n Go at Queen City Dog Training. Same place as the Rally Show n Go yesterday. I saw several people I knew and based on comments I heard, it seems Dazzle already has a reputation to live up to! Uh Oh! :-) He does seem to be living up to his name though!
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I think he does better in Rally than in obedience because I'm constantly engaging him (and no dumbbells are being tossed in the other ring :-) But in Obedience, there are breaks in the exercises and when I stop and don't reward, he becomes unsure if he's doing it right. Plus, I talk to him less in Obedience (though I still talk more than I should :-)
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His runs were still REALLY good for a puppy under 6 mo. old! I'm very happy with his performance and especially his ability to "bounce back" after a big distraction. But we definitely have more to work on with obedience. As I have said before, it will be easier to work on it once I am a member of Kuliga and can practice in a real ring. Kinda hard to have others tossing dumbbells in the basement (but he will hold a stay there if I toss his favorite ball or Bear's dumbbell it's just not the same.) He needs to learn that his big reward is going to be at the end and be found outside the ring. For that, I need a ring in which to teach him.
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I also tried hard to remember to pay attention to where my shoulders were pointing, especially on turns, but I'm not sure if Dazzle noticed or not. He seemed to be closer to me (not so far wide) on the Fig 8 the first time through, but was still lagging. Second fig 8 he was in la-la land when he was on the outside :-) WAY too much interesting stuff outside the ring :-)
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He completely lost focus on me during his first run when the person in the next ring was using really loud cues to send her dog out and then when the dog came back over the jump, that just blew his puppy brain! I was able to get him back to work though when she was done with the send outs, so I'm thrilled he's willing to re-focus at least! It's SO hard to be the puppy! LOL
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I'm not sure (I'm sure I'll get several emails) about what I'm allowed to do to try to get his focus back. I know I can't make contact with him, though I figured that was the safest thing to do when he started running the fence even though catching him as he ran by along the fence wrenched my back (that is just after she turned off the video.) Not sure if sounds, words or hand movements are considered "extra" cues? Which is worse, the dog across the ring or extra cues? :-) Do I just go on without him letting the leash stay tight if he's on lead or let him be across the ring if off lead? I did try to go on without him in the second run, but that stressed him out and he started jumping on me and biting at me again. I know that having to ignore the action in the next ring is REALLY hard for him and trying not to pay attention to it causes stress for him. He really wants to go play be he knows he's supposed to be with me so it's hard on him. I have no doubt he will learn to cope, but I'm just going to be patient while he figures it out.
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I'm very happy to report that he did his 1 minute sit and 3 minute down stays perfectly! He had a Novice ring behind him and the tempting "Utility" ring was in front of him across the ring (behind me) and he watched what was going on around him but didn't move. On his down, it was clear he was bored and he even started playing with his collar, but he didn't get up. Best news of all was that he didn't leave any sweaty footprints (a sign of stress) like he has on stays in the past. So I'm also thrilled about all of that! The person acting as the judge was not doing any scoring, so Idon't know what his score would have been. I think on the first run the major distraction would have disqualified him? If not, his scores should have been decent! Maybe someone with experience can watch his videos and give their opinion about his score (disregarding the treats I was giving him of course :-)
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I have him entered in a Nov. A obedience class on Feb 7th (at Hamilton DTC, a place I have never been) just 2 days after he turns 6 mo old. But after that, it's all Rally shows (Feb 8th, also at Hamilton DTC and the 13th, 14th and 15th in Indianapolis.) I think that's all I'm going to enter for now because I know he's getting close to the stage where he will seem to forget everything he knows :-) I just hope he can get his Rally Novice (RN) title before that happens. I only have a few show n go's on my calendar till late March when I'm thinking of going to Cleveland for the C-wags trial and maybe a herding clinic at Hado-Bar. I've been there before and it's a nice facility with really nice sheep. Hopefully by April, when he's 8 mo old, he will have his brain back and we can start showing again :-) We'll see!
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The videos are below. The person I asked to video us didn't leave the camera running, she only turned it on for each exercise. So I had to splice the videos together. Which shouldn't have been all that hard! But it ended up taking several HOURS because first I had to figure out how, then the system got a glitch that didn't show up till AFTER I did all the editing and tried to save it. So I did all the editing again and still got the glitch. So I looked on-line for any patches or updates and found one that took several minutes to load. Re-did the video a third time and still had the same glitch. So I dumped the whole program and re-loaded it, created the video again (which took about 30 minutes each time!) and FINALLY it was done! Then I had to edit the second run. Thankfully that one went smoothly. Loading to the blog takes quite awhile too, but at least I can type while it's uploading. Not exactly how I planned to spend my afternoon :-)
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But speaking of video uploads, I did spend more time last night clearing my camera card to make more room by editing and saving several older videos. I'll upload those at some point in the near future. A few were video of when he was first learning to work the light switch and really shows how much he has grown! I think that was just a month and a half or two months ago, but it's a clear difference in size! I found out last night he's tall enough to reach the switch on the wall now. You should have seen his ears fly as far forward as possible toward the switch when the light came on! As if he was saying "How did THAT happen!?" I had to laugh and of course reward heavily!

First run:

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Second run:

video

Now it's time to feed the dogs and go play.