Top Ten Things My Obedience Handling Coach Tells Me
11. You have to listen AND do what the judge says.
10. Where is your dog?
9. Your other right!!
8. Your other Left!!
7. Have you ever even walked your dog before today!?!?
6. Are you happy with your dog sitting like that??
5. Do it again but heel in a STRAIGHT line!
4. Keep your head up!
3. Walk like you have a purpose.
2. Thats the worst about turn by a handler I have ever seen.
1. Your moving like a slug Pick Up Your Pace!!!
Kelly G and Amber RN CGC
Hee,hee,hee ;DThat one is Emilu and me!Are you happy with your dog sitting like that??
OH MY! I HEAR MYSELF TALKING TO MY COMPETITION CLASSES!!!!
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
Oh ya, I get those a lot! Especially #6! (and I get so tempted to answer YES I AM happy with her sitting like that!!!)
#5 is my favorite. I tell that to my training buddies all the time. They can't walk and chew gum at the same time either.
#8 and #9 are me all the way. Yep...can't tell my left from my right. I love it when judges have us heel along the ring barrier. I don't have to think as hard as when we are heeling up the middle and they give a directional. ;D
#5 and #3 are the ones I hear a lot.
Gosh, that makes me wonder what it would be like to actually be taking obedience "lessons"... I'll bet you learn a ton! I don't know of anyone around here who does anything beyond a typical puppy class.
I just work by myself and with a couple of friends, so I haven't had anyone do any critiques yet...I'm sure it would be like when I used to compete with my horses, though.
~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~
"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon
The best way to find someone to critique you would be to go to a dogshow and ask someone there where they train or if they would help you and your friends. It would be best to ask someone in open b or utility a or b. Other places to check would be the local specialty clubs Labrador, Golden, GSD, Aussie, Border Collie or other breed that is common in obedience. They often will have lesson nights or such and will usually want to help newbies out even if you don't own their breed dog. You might also check with any local Obedience clubs, You can check online at AKC.org under breed clubs and obedience clubs. The other place to check would be to check the list of obedience and rally judges at the closest shows. they usually publish the judges address in the premium list so you could ask the judge(s) for help. I find alot of judges also will hold training classes. You can also check these same places through UKC though some of the exercises are a bit different the judges are looking for the same basics. One other resource would be the magazine Front and Finish as it has the most info on obedience in any magazine I know of. I notice that a lot of the articles are written by judges.
I think that the biggest mistake by newbies is not heeling at a fast enough pace. The faster you heel the less time your dog has to get out of place or be distracted. I try to heel at 3-4mph you can check your heeling speed by marking out a 1/2 mile and timing how long it takes you to cover that distance. it will take 10 minutes at 3mph and 7 minutes and 30 seconds at 4 mph. Make sure you know the order of exercises before you get to the show.
Heeling on leash...make sure you know the heeling pattern, know where the judge is going to start you, have your dog sitting straight and looking at you when the judge asks you if you are ready, make sure you have enough slack in the leash a little extra is a good thing so you won't get called for a tight leash, you shouldn't look at your dog for the rest of the heeling pattern, hold your head high and concentrate on the judges orders, believe your dog will do a perfect pattern, heel a smidgen faster than usual, take an extra step to stop so you don't do it to abrupt, an about turn should be a 4 step pattern, They really want to see obvious changes of pace for the slow, fast and normal, try to make the initial change of pace with your left leg (visual cue).
Figure 8... Go directly to the spot you will start the figure 8 from, make sure you and your dog are centered between the posts and facing straight ahead before you start, if your dog usually lags on starts then go left first (dog on inside) if your dog gets out there quick or forges go right first (dog on outside) (this also helps cover slightly crooked sits on the halt as the judge will usually stand opposite and to the left of you from starting position) , this exercise is to show that your dog will speed up and slow down to stay in heel position, remember to give the leash to one of the posts after you are done, Always thank the posts.
Stand for exam....dog should be sitting squarely at your side before and while the judge gives you the instructions (judging doesn't officially start till you stand your dog but it is better to make a good impression before starting), Get your dog standing comfortably and square then you move to the heel position and give the stay comand, You will walk out 6 feet and turn and face your dog from straight in front (6 ft is probably the length of your leash but double check and practice 6 ft), you should stand there with your arms at your side and just wait while the judge goes over your dog, the judge will back to her position and tell you to return to your dog, you will walk around the dog and back to the heel position, then the judge will say "exercise finished" , it is best to heel your dog forward 2 steps and then stop and then praise.
Heeling off leash... same rules as heeling on leash.
Recall..... Heel your dog over to the starting pace and makesure your dog is sitting straight and square, you can always make a small oval to resit your dog before you start any exercise, Tell your dog to stay with a firm loud voice but don't yell, Always leave your dog by stepping off with your right foot, Walk away quickly and with confidence, hold your head high and don't sneak peeks back at your dog, turn and stand facing your dog with arms at your side and feet shoulder width apart, When the judge has you call your dog don't move your hands or give any signal but your loud firm call, string the dogs name and the word "come" together as if one word, do not say the dogs name and then pause before calling dog (the dog may start to come to you at the sound of its name and this is a penalty), when the dog comes in to sit don't move (some labs will crash into you if you brace and don't move the judge may not notice the minor collision) , Keepstanding in the same position and tell dog to heel on the judges order.
Waiting for your leash.... Always thank the judge after she releases you. Keep control of your lab by not praising until you have attached your leash. And never leave or get near the ring exit until the dog is on the leash.
Long sits and downs... pay attention to when they call you in for the group exercises, Always heel your dog over to where they will line you up for groups, always heel in for groups, sit your dog and remove your armband and then remove leash and place behind dog, tell your dog to stay after everyone else if you can, step off on your right foot first when you leave your dog, walk straight away and don't look back turn and face dog I hold my hands together in front of me as an additional cue with my feet together as opposed to shoulder width apart, on the return back to your dog I make it quick but not like I am coming back to correct, Don't praise dog to much if at all, down your dog just after everyone else and give the stay command just after everyone else (makes it easier for the dog to hear your voice), do the same as on the sit, after the return leave dog on down and get leash and armband, put arm band on and leash on dog, Thank the judge on the way out,and get ready to go back in and get your 1st place and HIT ribbons for your perfect 200 score..
Kelly G Amber RN CGC