Oh my gosh!!!! I'm so excited, I can't contain myself. We just got back from training this morning. After weeks of all of the Utility exercises falling apart, I finally saw a flash of brilliance in Murray today. He was ON and using his brain in ways I haven't seen yet in his Utility training.
He has been trying to take Glove 2 every time for the past 3 weeks regardless of which glove I send him for. Today, he started for Glove 2, then corrected himself before picking it up. Yea!!! His go outs have been on (fast and straight but laying down on the sit) or really off (weaving all over the place, trying to decide if he needs to take a jump on the way out, etc). Today his first go out was fast and straight with a nice tight, square SIT. His second go out was fast...right to where glove 3 would be but he corrected himself. The park we train in has these weird leaves all over the place that are the same color as the gloves. He saw a leaf that looked like a glove so I think that is what threw him off. Once he saw it wasn't a glove, he remembered what he was supposed to be doing and corrected himself by going to the correct go out spot on his own and sitting. In addition, yesterday and today were the first days he didn't creep on the signals. The girl I train with said she was very impressed with Murray's thought process today. She said it shows he's understanding the exercises better. I loved Murray's expression too. He was very confident today. He sat with his chest out, tail wagging, and a big ol' grin on his face. I love it when he's confident. I haven't seen that attitude with Utility until now. I'm so proud of my boy!!!!
I understand about being discouraged about this Utility stuff. Fix one thing, break another. It's a whole new ball game for us. I didn't know how to teach a lot of the stuff but some how stumbled thru. There isn't anyone around here who teaches Utility even though there are many who could so I really didn't have a resource to go to when issues developed. Were we on the right track or was I ruining the dog? Were the things I was seeing the normal progression or signs of an issue? I never knew. It has helped immensely to be training with my new Lab buddy since she's working on a UDX so she's been there, done that. She's offered a different perspective than my other training buddies who are still working on their A dog and just going into Utility too. All I can say is stick with it. Take a break if you need to just to keep yourself in the right frame of mind though. If it ever becomes a chore instead of being fun then its definitely time to take a break. We never took any time off. I like a challenge so as long as I was seeing progress, I just kept pushing.
I'm hoping to debut at the end of Sept but we'll have to wait and see. Just about everyone I know says it takes at least 1 full yr (usually more) to train for Utility. We dabbled with it a little bit last year but didn't get really serious about training until this year around March so that means we'd only have 6 months under out belt. I need to have goals to work towards so Sept is my goal even though I know I may have to reaccess it as it gets closer. I'm also trying to get Essy ready to debut in Rally and possibly even Novice by Fall. My daughter is considering showing Essy in Rally and Obedience which means training her as well so that is also a deviation from our original plan (Essy was going to be my B dog in obedience and my daughter was going to stick to Rally) so I'm juggling a lot right now.
That is great!!! Don't you just love when it begins to come together. I guess we all have the fall as a goal of getting them out there to begin their UD! Caleb is progressing nicely. I think Mom is more the problem right now. I just have not been working him as hard the past few weeks.
Susan UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN