Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beginner Utility, class 1

Quick overview of what I learned tonight:

1. Scorch is SO MUCH BETTER BEHAVED since I started bringing him to work and using the Easy Walk harness. We haven't been to SOTC since the spring (agility) and not inside the building since last year. This class had a lot of observing time and he wasn't jumping out of his skin like he used to.

2. Easy Cheese on the ring stanchion: Scorch tends to want to target the floor instead of paying attention to where I'm telling him to look. Good response to the "run away" though.

3. Glove: Scorch marked the glove well and was allowed to "get it" because he had such a nice look. We'll work on increasing the time of the look and working to reduce looking back at me. Lisa was having us use "spot" to mark the go-out, but Bev was using "look". So Bev encouraged me to use something other than "look" for the glove. I guess I'll use "mark" for that.

4. Signal drop: The biggest eye opener was that even quick drops had the dog creeping forward. Several handlers, including myself, had to redefine what they consider a drop. Even if the dog doesn't sit first, even if the elbows and back end go down simultaneously, if it's not a fold-back drop, the dog will have moved forward almost a full body length. The feet don't have to move forward for that to occur. So we did some drops behind a bar. I told Lisa that I could guess that Scorch would put his paws on the bar. She explained that I needed to claim the bar as mine and tap his feet if I had to. His first drop was solid, but his second had a paw on the bar. I stepped towards him and he immediately popped up; I stood on the bar, tapped it with my foot and said "MINE". Then I asked for a down while I was standing on it... PERFECT. Lisa also kept stressing that it was important to "feed the floor" by dropping the treat between their paws, to help enforce the fold-back down. I'm going to try the bar again to help with our broken drop-on-recall.

5. Attitude: I saw a surprising amount of negativity, frustration, sarcasm, etc from other handlers. It reminded me to keep a good attitude and to smile at my dog. Maybe it's partially because Scorch is my Novice A dog, but working with him generally makes me happier, not angrier! If I'm frustrated, we're not going to get anywhere and I usually stop training for the day. But I'm going to really make myself more accountable for my attitude.

No comments: