Susan said this in another thread, and it made me remember that I wanted to ask you all about this.That is something I work Caleb on even before we go into the ring as a reminder. It is part of our normal ring warm up routine.
Can you describe what you do to warm your dog up before you go in the ring?
As you know, we showed last weekend in Rally. I was so nervous, and I ended up having so little time after walking the course before we went into the ring (we were third), and there was so little room at the gate...it all combined to make what probably classified as the lamest warm-up ever!
I remember watching people do this when I was a ring steward at our trial last year. It was fascinating, the different methods people had. I feel like we should have some sort of routine, as maybe that would help "cue" Angus that we're going to work now. You know? But I just don't seem to have worked out what that routine is. ??? I mean, I know it's different for every dog. I just thought maybe if you guys described what you do, it would give me a jumping-off point.
Sorry for the silly newbie question! :P
Connie and "The Boys":
Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD
Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever
We were all newbies at one time or another!!!!! So, no question is bad. I do some line heeling, abouts emphasizing the wrap around about turn. I work on areas that he needs reminded in--not playing iwth the dumbbell when picking it up, etc. I carry food in my mouth and swallow it as I walk into the ring so he is not sure if I have it or not. I also work on some fronts and finishes.
This is something I need to work on also.
I can tell how we are going to do both in practice and a trial by a simple "sit" command. If I get a fast sit I know things will go good. That is where I start just so I have a feel for what I am going to face in the ring.
I have seen people do all kinds of things. One lady I train with has a Border Collie and they do leg weaves and a dance.
Something else I have started is I don't put his leash that I use in the ring on him any other time except to go into the ring (practice and trial). I will say "OK time to get to work" and change his leash. This seems to trigger his attention.
I have only been in once with Ernie. I did three with Kassa before she got sick so not experienced. I do a few trial walks, sits etc. If I can get into the ring I do.
Then go somewhere as quiet and possible and make Ernie sit still and try to relax us both. An experienced competitor told me to let them relax on their blanket before going into the ring, as too much walking around makes them tired.
I guess i do cheat a bit. I rub nice food on my fingers and promise if you behave you get it all.
Great idea about the food in the mouth and also the lead.
Another thing I always do is attention exercises, especially if it is a "busy" show and he is having more of a difficult time focusing on me.
I do precision heeling, forward, back and side steps. If gate area is small, I go out aways and practice. I also work on attention. I work on enthusiastic starts to the heeling, where they will literally burst forward with lots of energy. When in a rally trial, I work on the individual exercises while waiting to go into the ring.
For Obedience we practice really tight heeling paterns 2 steps turn two steps about turn two steps right turn two steps stop etc. the main focus is to get Amber to "LOOK" at me during the patern I know if she looks at me then everything else will be ok. If she looks at me on the recall then she will sit straight. any distractions with her lead to sloppiness.
for rally we do the turns for rally in a heeling pattern. 360's 270's 180's etc. and then we practice the one left about turn because we never do that in Obedience.
Kelly G and Amber CGC (future VCCH)
Murray is crated until time to show. I take him out to potty, we play for a few minutes, then we practice heeling right up to the time we are called into the ring where we heel in. This routine takes less than 5 minutes.
Maybe I am totally wrong here but I believe that each dog is different and what works for one dog is not always best for another. Some dogs are great right out of the crate and some need to be reminded where they are and what they are there for. We as partners in the ring have to find what works best for both of us.
Also just as important as a warm-up is what you do once you leave the ring. We have a special ball that we play with once we are finished. I always get a big ol' labby grin when I pull it out.
Yes, each dog is different but I have learned a lot from watching some of the top handlers in the nation who compete regularly in my area. In the new Front and Finish I was amazed at how many of the top teams I regularly see at shows. So, I watch what they do and learn from them. Also, what I do for a Rally warm up is different from an Open or Novice warm up. When we actually begin to show in Utility it will be different for that as well. But, each team has their warm up. Also, each team will have their things they do in the ring inbetween exercises, too.