Monday, December 31, 2007

Jumpers and Rally

I was asked to judge a long haired whippet specialty Saturday for conformation. That was a great experience. I will write about that later. But they were kind enough to let me enter Wyatt in agility and rally. We made it up for the jumpers agility class. We had a few off courses for the advanced run. I was out of practice in terms of my timing. But we smoked the novice course in 20 seconds. Very fun to do some agility again.

After conformation, I stuck around for rally novice and rally advanced. We got a 99 for novice which was fun. I was not sure being on leash would be good but it was fine. Still looked for that elusive 100. We had a really great advanced run too, a 94 but I was very happy with Wyatt's stations, especially the halt, 90 left, halt. We have practicing that a lot as part of our directed retrieve utility training and he was great, right with me, and nice and straight. We lost 3 on a 270 left as he was forging. I need to remember to really turn in and look at his rear before he starting forging.

I did not manage him well. I did not bring tarps to cover his crate. I used some blankets I had but he was experiencing some SA when I was judging without Patriot. I should have brought Patriot or lots of tarps.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Not too much new here.

Still practicing obedience and rally. We have an open match next weekend and a rally trial in January.

Still working on sits and stays. Wyatt is a bit squirmy sometimes when I am farther away so I mix the distances up from right in front of him to out of sight. He is doing well at home and not going down but there was no sits and downs last week at class. Maybe tonight if I can get out of our driveway. We got some freezing rain this morning.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Directed Retrieve - Improvement

One thing that is helping with a fast and responsive left turn is the following exercise I made up.

Start with dog sitting in heel position.

Do a 90 degree right pivot. Reward. Do a 90 degree right pivot. Reward. Repeat 2-3 times without pausing in between. Since out right pivot is pretty good, I mixed it with an immediate left pivot to get the same behavior on both. So far, this seems to be improving his left pivot quite a bit. I will change to 180 degree pivots at some point.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Directed Retrieve

I have been working with Wyatt a lot on the directed retrieve. In this utility exercise, there are 3 gloves and the judge tells you which one the dog is supposed to retrieve. You are supposed to move together as team from a position facing away from the gloves to a position where you face the gloves. In my experience, the retrieve is the easy part. Getting the dog to maintain heel position as you turn and face the right glove is the hard part. If Wyatt ends up out of position and/or facing the wrong glove, he may get the wrong glove. I turn clockwise for the middle glove and the left glove (facing the gloves) and turn counterclockwise for the right glove (facing the gloves). The counterclockwise turn is tough. I am making progress but Wyatt wants more cues and/or lots of shoulder turning to turn with me counterclockwise. I was used to a rally type left (inside) turn where there can be a delay and lots of signaling.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Proofing Jump on Retrieve

Since Wyatt left a little early on last week's open obedience run thru Retrieve on Flat exercise, I decided to proof this. Sure enough, he was leaving early if I moved or said anything. First, I moved and had him come back if he left. He got that quickly. Then I said words other than "Find It" and I fooled him on that too. Now, he does not leave unless I say "Find It". One side effect though, he has needed a double command a few times. I guess he does not want to make a mistake. So I think I will not proof the words anymore.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Snort, Snort

I noticed that Wyatt snorts every time as he is going out to do scent discrimination. I also noticed this outside when the dogs are interested in a scent. I can only assume they are "clearing their pallet". Interesting.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Open Run Thru - Second Try

We had obedience run throughs last night. Wyatt did great. He got a 183 1/2. We only lost 5 1/2 points heeling. We had some minor point for sits. He anticipated the retrieve on flat but stopped a few feet ahead of me when he realized he had not been released. Tibby only took off 3 points but told me later some judges might have NQed him. He nicked the jump for 1 point (I thought that was a more serious issue) and also made some contact with the last broad jump for 3 points. I think the jumping issues were unusual for him but I will practice the broad jump more at home at the full distance which we don't often do. I left very confident and comfortable with the whole open sequence which is very important. So I did the our usual warm up routine and I was up and praising him and running to the next "station" between exercises.

I did a reduced version of the sit and down standing about 10 feet in front and reducing the time on the down to 3 minutes because we have not been practicing the down. He starting moving one front leg lower about 1/2 through the sit and I gave a low key - ut - and fixed his sit and he was fine. Not sure if he would have gone down or not...

Overall, I was pleased. I am confident on the individual part of the exercises and hopeful I can work through our group issues. More on that later; I have been thinking a lot about it.