April 10, 2006

Obedience Trials

Dusty and I have started to go to obedience training at a local club. Most of the training is still done by jerk and shout methods, but there are a couple of instructors who offer 'motivational training' for small groups. Needless to say I knocked people over and trampled them when they asked for handlers who wanted to try positive methods.

We have enjoyed the couple of sessions we have had. The grounds are beautiful, and the weather has been marvellous. Dusty is in with the mainly six month puppies which she loves. I get asked why I didn't start her earlier, but the classes are large and there are lots of them so I though it was just too busy an environment for a young dog. Besides she was in class for show dog training and herding, and in the last few months agility.

Thommo got very bored with obedience, whenever he had the opportunity he would go hide under the car! So with Dusty I'm careful to mix it up. If she heels nicely then we have a game of tug. Our instructor is good at giving us all short turns and encouraging jackpotting or games between turns.

I've been using a variation of Alex Kurland's 300 peck system. One step in heel position / reward. Two steps / reward. Three steps /reward. Four steps / reward. Oops forging ahead. One step in position / reward. And then build back up again. This system can also be used for stays or any skill that requires duration.

We have been doing our homework. I've been working on the computer so it is good for us all for me to get up on the hour and do a minute or two training the dogs. But most of my classmates do little between weekly sessions. I'd find it very frustrating being a volunteer instructor for a club. I think I'd be giving detention.

The ANKC obedience trial rules will change in July. There is a new beginner's class Community Companion Dog Class so we might work towards that:

  1. Heel on Lead
  2. Stand for Examination on Lead
  3. Recall
  4. 1 minute Sit Stay
  5. 2 minute Down Stay

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