I had the opportunity last weekend to Stuart a Novice A and B obedience. I had a wonderful judge that was very informative on why she docked points here and there. I actually learned quite a bit.
I have always had a bit of nerves when it came to doing this with my dog. I have wanted to do it for some time, but have yet to do it. Pitch has been through many levels of obedience classes, and in class he is a wonderful student. I take him out in the real world, and he forgets his own name.
I think I have enough nerve to get him out and to start seeing what he can do in an obedience ring. My question is, he hasn't had any training courses in about a year, and with a new baby in the home, we haven't done a whole lot of reinforcing a lot of his commands. With a little bit of work, do you think he could be ready in a month for beginner novice obedience? Or am I asking too much for him. Where he needs the work, I feel, is mostly Recall. He will come when baited. I have been working on "Fronts" with him all morning, and even with baiting, he wants to go to a heal position. From what I learned this weekend, I know they dock points for not sitting straight. Are they more lenient in the novice class? Also, I was reading the rules on the AKC site; it isn't really clean on a few things. When calling him, can I use voice and hand signals? Or just one or the other? I think we have the heal on leash down, and off lead too. He does tend to sometimes get a bit close when he heals, hoping to have that corrected with a bit of work.
Any words of encouragement? Do's and Don'ts? Places to get more information besides AKC website, on what is expected? I guess the main thing is to go out and have fun, but just looking for more information to see if we are ready.
Well all you can do is try
To answer your question, No, you cannot use voice and hand signal to call him to come on the recall. It's one or the other. Yes, they do tick off points for sloppy sits (not square) but you can still Q with not perfect sits. Oh how I wish my dog's problem was getting too close when they heel. LOL!! My dogs tend to lag behind me. Sounds like you are on the right track.
As for being nervous, of course it's natural to be nervous, but just remember that no matter what happens in the ring, trust me, the judges have seen it all, so don't get so nervous or uptight that you decide not to show at all. Go and have fun and learn with it.
You might look into starting out in Rally Obedience since you've never shown before. It's less formal and will give you valuable ring time before you step into the more formal obedience ring.
What about using his name in front of a command, is that allowed? Like instead of using hand signals, say his name, and come. Is that allowed? During Heal, when starting to move, can I say, like Pitch come, and then when we stop, and he has to sit, can I tell him to come again, or should he just know that he is to move forward with no command.
You are allowed to use his name in front of a verbal command, like "Pitch - heel", but not with a hand command. When you are heeling and a "halt" is called, you can give them another command to heel when starting out again. In Novice you can also give them one extra command during the heeling process and not get docked (or so I've been told, and i did it in every ), but I was told this weekend at a show-n-go to even give an extra command in heeling if I am losing my dog and take a hit , just to get my dog back with me (but our problem is lagging also) It sounds like you are on the right track, but depending how much work you can do with him, one month might not be enough to do your dog justice. How is he out in public now? Can he work around other dogs? Whatever he can do now, he'll probably lose some of it in the ring. Do you have someone to practice the stand for exam with, and the long sits and down around other dogs? Whatever you decide, good luck you two - and remember to have fun with your dog! If you can think of any other questions ask away. I agree with starting in Rally if you want to, but we just had a rather long discussion about rally, and many people think that it can be bad for a dog that is going to go on to obedience, but it can get you some ring experience without the pressure of traditional obedience, - but then you need to learn the signs, and practice some rally stuff and know the rules for it.
When we were in class, and he practiced the sit stays, and down stays, he did well. Even with other dogs in the class. They even had us leave the room, and he still did well. So I think if I am standing in front of him, he should be fine. Or so I hope. Not sure how he will do if someone (dog) approaches him, if they break. He won't attack, I mean, he might see this is an invitation to play.
I guess there is only one way to find out, and that is go out and do it..right?
Do you think going to a petstore, or other place, and practice around other dogs is a good idea? What is the thought on that? There is only so much I can do without the distractions that he may come in counter with. Currently I am using my toddlers as distraction, but this is something he sees daily, so not really a good distraction.
I do a lot of training in pet stores, parks when the weather is nicer. I take my boy and now it'll be boys to as many different places to work as I can.
As all ready been said, all you can do is try. Get there early to watch the class and you can see the heeling pattern , etc.
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Thanks so much for your help, been very informative.
I haven't made it into the Novice obed. ring yet either, I'm working on it. Maybe try going to a fun match. I've been to only one so far, but it was great experience to go somewhere different and be around different dogs.
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