Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tibby Chase Class

I went to Chicopee last night for an open/utility drop in class with Tibby Chase. Great class. Tibby has tons of ideas. Some are simple but make a huge difference. For example, she suggested saying "Come" right after Wyatt picks up the dumbbell. That increases his speed and motivation quite a bit. She gave me some things to try for the group sit too. I will write about that in another post. Wyatt was awesome at this class. I usually see a big drop in performance in class in Greenfield but not in Chicopee. It was small - 4 dogs and quiet and I warmed him up really good. I saw maybe 5% drop here from at home. He impressed everyone with his jumps especially and also his scent discrimination which I did after class. This class is a bit farther for me but it was well worth it. His heeling was right on too besides the slight lag I get for fast (which I also get at home). We are doing a private lesson Monday.

It gives me hope that we can get through open and onto utility some day. At least now I have a strategy and plan for the sit problem. I would hate to see that isse stop him. He can definately get a UD if we can get through open.

I did learn that his jumpo height will be 22. I thought it was 16. I guess I was reading the 3/4 breeds. I am not too worried about the high jumps but the broad jump I will have to practice with him and make sure he has enough room to get running start. He is a great jumper in agility so I guess I should not worry...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hero or Zero

I think some dogs are hero or zero dogs.  Patriot, who my wife normally handles in obedience and agility, is very consistent but you kind of have to cheer lead him through the agility course.  On the other hand, Wyatt is a crazed maniac who I have to work hard to keep up with. We have had tons of issues with contacts, off courses, and lately a back injury.  He has tons of first places.  We also have tons of NQ’s.  Sometimes I get depressed from a bad weekend but when he is on, it is like driving a performance sport car and there is no thrill in the world like it.  All in all, I find running Wyatt much more fun.  I just try  to look at each NQ as telling me something we need to work on...

Directed Retrieve

I have moved the directed retrieve outside and, I have to say, it is a lot of fun. There is not room inside for 3 gloves but there is room outside and I have been doing 3 gloves and also the required turn around (since I now know the foot work - I think). Wyatt is doing well. He will sometimes get the wrong one if he does not spot it first. I have to be patient and make sure he sees it. However, I try not to move his face - I doubt that would be allowed. How to you get your dog to change his focus if he is not looking at the right glove without pointing his muzzle in the right direction? After we practice a few times (usually I do once in each of the 3 spots), I have him fetch a glove. The gloves really seem to engage the prey drive in whippets (or in Wyatt at least). He loves to get the glove.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ob Class Last Night

Good class last night...

Don went over the footwork for directed retrieves, which I had never thought much about. Having practiced rally, it was a breeze.

Wyatt stayed up for the sit and did an out of sight down but lifted his rear during the long sit.

He seemed to heel better off leash at the end of class. He seems stressed at the beginning of class and upon entering the building. I have not been going much so I guess I need to keep it more regular. Makes me wonder what the effect of going to a new building is at a trial.

I am still struggling with "hanging around" stays. Should I expect him to stay sitting when just waiting around for the next thing to happen at class? He definately gets up during these times.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Stays In Trials/Stays at Home

I am starting to admit that we also have a stay problem at home. Though certain situations are good (waiting for his dinner), others are not good such as when we eat dinner. Last night in agility class, I also was practicing stays. He was good during walk throughs (at least in a down) but lousy waiting around near me (he seemed to be obsessing over the cheese in my pockets). So perhaps I can do more at home and in class and see if it carries over. Also, he is lifting his butt when practicing at home which I understand is an NQ (though his butt doesn't even touch the ground normally in a sit!). It almost seems like I need to start all over. I have been not rewarding the sit if he lifts/shifts his rear end. I used to mark it (uttt) and carry on.
I am thinking of doing a private lesson with Tibby Chase on this issue. Since his drop on recall is now pretty good, the groups sits and stays are the last thing...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Agility Last Week

Boy, we had a good last run in agility last week. No mistakes, perfect contacts and super fast weaves. That was encouraging. No trials until the CPE Nationals in Nova Scotia though.

Picture Perfect Drop on Recall

I got a picture perfect drop on recall with Wyatt yesterday which was exciting. He usually creeps forward quite a bit. Doing the recall early seems to help for some reason. I think I will try to get the drop in good shape and really work on the group sit, our hardest thing by far. I feel like I will need some help on that one...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Drop on Recall

Drop on recall is surprizingly hard. After training for at least a year, I finally am getting to a decent drop on recall at home. He still creeps a bit. I am sure it will be worse at class or at a trial so we need to keep working on it and start proofing it.

We trained it by doing down games (sudden downs when heeling) and by moving forward to the dog when practicing a formal drop on recall. (That is, you run towards the dog after you give the down command). We also mix it up and don't always call a down so they keep up a brisk pace and don't anticipate the down. I use both a hand signal (arm straight up) AND a verbal command so I will need to drop one of those too.