Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Competition Obedience, Class # 3

Oye!! So, last night I discovered I was essentially combining the "zen" cookie game and "leave it." Remember how appalled I was last week when I discovered I wasn't supposed to be giving Ike the treat on his paw? Well, I didn't exactly understand. I can "give" Ike the treat, I just can't give him the okay to "take" the treat. Subtle difference. Yipes.

Last night we started class with a few repetitions of the "zen" cookie game and translated that into a "zen stay." Okay. does that work? Initially you start by standing close to your dog, asking them for a sit stay and then in the hand farthest away from your dog you have a treat. You slowly move the hand with the treat towards the dog. If he does not shift his weight, or pick up his paw, or break the stay he gets the cookie. Moving his head is okay. Slowly you move away from the dog and walk towards them with the cookie. Same criteria.

Poor Ike, since we have been working on "fronts" he had no idea what I was asking him to do at first - he kept trying to get closer to me. I have a tendency to give Ike essentially a verbal correction when he doesn't do exactly what I want. I say "oh well" and we go back to square one and try again. Esther wants me to stop doing that. She said, even though I am not yanking on my dog, giving them a physical correction, or yelling 'No" at them - it is still a correction. Yipes. I have come to realize that it is unnecessary with agility (thank you, Katrin) but apparently I have to learn to stop it with obedience too.

We worked on our recalls again. I did not bow to Ike this week, but I did bend when I motioned for Ike the first time. The second time I called Ike Esther asked me to use the verbal command - no bend! Ike has a very nice stay and is learning the "set-up" behavior quite nicely.

Then we worked on heeling. I am super curious how other people learn/train heeling. Esther has us fill both hands with treats. When you move your right foot forward the dog gets a treat from your right hand, when you move your left foot forward your dog gets a treat from your left hand. Key points to remember - take small steps, keep it short in the beginning, and if you have a small dog bend your knees don't bend towards them!

I was impressed with Ike - Esther asked if she could borrow him and he actually took treats from her and moved along with her. He was crooked but she said not to worry about his body position yet. It was a big step for him!

I also discovered that Ike likes pulled pork - big surprise, right?! Karen, who has two Keeshonds (at least that I know of), gave us the pulled pork and recommended trying whipped cream cheese instead of the peanut butter on Ike's target plate. She also recommended mixing milk into the peanut butter to make it have a slightly less sticky consistency. I will have to try both.

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