Friday, September 7, 2012

Taming the Wild One

When I woke up this morning, I realized that in about two weeks, I plan to do the TDI test with Barley--and we have been slacking on our training practice (minus our regular reactive dog training on walks). We've done 10 of the 15 items in the CGC test, but we still have to get through them again plus 5 new items--and we haven't taken the TDI class!

So, after I started some laundry, Bar and I went out back to get to work.

We started with sit-stays.
Notice Soth supervising from the window.
We're supposed to practice doing 3-minute sit-stays because in obedience competitions a dog has to do a 1-minute sit-stay, so you practice longer so your dog is used to being still for a while in case there is a stop-watch malfunction or spacey evaluator who forgets to tell you to return to your dog right at 1 minute.

We're also not supposed to push our dogs too much.  You want every training session to be a success, so you don't do things that set your dog up for failure.

So, when we got to 2 minutes, 4 seconds (plus however many seconds it took me to walk from where I had Bar sit to the table where the phone was and press start), I decided we should call it a success and end that exercise.  We'll work at getting back to 3 minutes by the end of the weekend.  Plus, for TDI, Bar only has to sit-stay long enough for me to walk to the end of the 20-foot lead, turn to face her, and call her to front.
Look at that face. She's clearly trying to intimidate me into giving her a treat for such a good "Come Front."
We did sit-stays three times and all attempts were successful (yay Barley!).  And we did the full length of the 20-foot lead, so it was encouraging to find that we didn't have to completely start from scratch with practice.
She's so far away! 
And we practiced doing crazy things like me walking past her, so she'd be used to people walking by if it happened in the test.

Then we practiced a few down-stays.
Look at that sphinx like pose--Can she resist the urge to break the down-stay?
For training, our goal is a 5-minute down-stay to prepare for a 3-minute competition down-stay (even though I have no intention of doing an obedience competition--we're not serious enough for that!), but when we got to 2 minutes, I decided the exercise was complete.  No need to break my pup!
Finally shifted to a more relaxed posed.
We broke up our stays with some heeling practice, too, because that's more fun and definitely more active--and probably the most useful for our relationship.  If we can get heeling down really well, maybe one day Bar and I can go to off-leash parks and actually hike with her off-leash.

She did really well with heeling today!  When we practice to prepare for off-leash, I leave the long lead on and just let her drag it--that way if she tries to be naughty and bolt, I can step on the leash (and she has difficulty going in a straight line--takes after her mama with that!--so with 20 feet of leash dragging behind her, the likelihood of Bar tangling herself up on something and preventing her from getting too far is pretty good).  Today, she did better than she does with on-leash heeling!  She was right with me the whole time--we did left turns, right turns, about turns, u-turns, circles and she was perfect.
Look at that eye contact! Such a good, focused girl!
There were a few moments when she lost focus because of some tempting smell in the grass, but overall she was great.

She even remembered to sit in heel position every time I stopped.
I get a treat for this, right?
We've still got a long way to go in the next two weeks, but it felt great to do some formal training again.  So keep your fingers crossed for us on Sept. 23!  If we don't pass, that's okay--we'll just have to hand over more money to actually take the two Saturday workshops at our training center and retest.

This is just a tiny percentage of the treats we've got to practice with!
I stocked up on more training treats on Monday, so hopefully the next couple weeks will go smoothly!

And we'll end with an unrelated picture, just because it was Barley's latest weird dog move.
So, Soth, what's so great about being on this windowsill anyway?

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha, I love that last picture! I'm glad your practice went so well today! Go Bar!