How do you know your dog like obedience, etc?
I have been tossing this around and mulling over it for some time. I know Gabs likes training for obedience- she is very up, we use a lot of games, treats, toys, etc. It's very fun for her. Hell, I went to two "Obedience & Play" Seminars this summer. We do make sure to practice patterns - 3-5 minutes w/o toys or treats (and we also do exercises where the toys and treats are on the chair and we do the exercise a couple of times and then go get the cookie).
But she is a total different dog in the ring. Happy heeling gone, etc. Most of the time, she is really lagging. She is slow to respond on everything except retrieves. Fronts/finishes that are perfect at home (at the club, at training spots, etc) either don't happen or are just bad. Most of the time we qualify, but that is it- and it is absolutely not for lack of training.
We have some performance issues in the agility ring (cough..weaves...and I tend to chalk that up to my incredible lack of handling skill in agility)...but nothing to the extent that occurs with obedience. Her body language at agility shows, etc, is different- and my nerves between the two venues are the same.
Do we finish the CDX in October and 1) continue to seriously train for utility and hope the issue resolves itself (or continue to try and change things up- trying to resolve the issue) 2) casually train for utility but seriously train for something else that she loves and I am okay with (agility, tracking, field work) 3) wait on utility entirely, train for something else in the meantime, and come back to utility later (she's only 2)?
I don't have a heck of a lot of experience to draw from here, but I'd maybe finish the CDX and then give it a bit of a break. Do agility, maybe field or tracking, something a little different.
I've noticed that Baloo is getting a little weary of the obedience thang, so next cycle we're in agility class (which he LOVES!) just to switch it up a bit.I guess I'll just try to go with the flow and take cues from him. I think if he doesn't enjoy it we'll just stop and do something else. I mean, I'm not paying to do all this when he's not even gonna enjoy it, you know? That's the most important part, to me.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
The way we act in a competition is so different than the way we act while training. There is stress from the handler and stress from the environment. One way to help with this is to train for it. Use a competition and not compete but reward for the various stressors she encounters. For example my dog Panda was startled by the chute sound in agility. I kept her out of the trial and took her to the site. I started from far away and everytime a fast dog went through the chute and produced the noise I marked it and fed it. I also work on focus exercises and play before she gets into the ring. We teach them the emotional response in the certain environment. Trial=stress and uncertainty. Now you need to reteach the emotional response by changing it within the environment. I hope I made sense. Good luck with Gabby.
Gosh Laura, I've been going through this very same thing with Henry, only ours is with Rally Advanced, since we aren't ready to show in Open just yet.
I've seen the way his eyes light up when he's truly happy, right before that gun goes off and he knows that somewhere out there is a big fat stinky dead duck being flung up into the air just for him. I've seen the same look and bounce when we were doing RN, though less so (understandably), and our CD. I see it too when he's jumping or fetching his DB in Open.
Our Rally Advanced experience has been horrid, though entertaining for spectators. It has taken us 3 tries to get 1 leg, and that was not pretty... (he got his CD/RN in pretty much straight trials). He's unfocused and laggy. I know a lot of this is me... I'm so freakin' worried that he's going to empty the food bowls, or snatch the sign holders that I'm SURE I'm completely different in the ring.
A very wise friend told me that it is now my responsibility to make it fun for him in the ring again, if RA is a title that I want to achieve. After all, the dogs didn't choose to go into the ring, we chose that for them, so we owe it to them to make it fun. I did promise him that when we started all this that the day it stopped being fun for either of us, we'd stop. I don't need the titles that badly. So, the internal dilemma...
Gabs has achieved soooo much and she's only 2. There's time. How many legs are you away from your CDX? If it's just one, I'd go for it. Make it a party in the ring (if you figure this out, will you let me in on it?? ). Then maybe take a break or train casually for Utility, and focus on the things that she loves... agility, fieldwork, tracking etc.
If Utility is important to you, then you have to make it fun for her, whether you train for it casually, or if you put it on hold and take it up again later.
Kodi seems to have retained her happy attitude in the ring that she has in training. At least so far!
I probably sound like a total idiot though in the ring in between exercises I am sounding just as happy as I can. Clapping my hands and I have Kodi essentially bounce from one exercise to another using the "up" command. (I did have one judge chastise me for taking too much time, even though we were moving at a good clip from one place to another). I think doing "ups" really helps the dog not only pay attention to you the whole time in the ring, but the jumping/bouncing is a stress reliever also.
I also am trying very hard to walk with extreme confidence during the whole time in the ring and not look back, not an easy task for me! Kinda like the figure 8...if you look back at your dog on the outside post, you are just pushing them back into a lag with your head and shoulders!
I had Kodi trained though Utility before we even set foot in the ring for Novice. The Utility exercises are so much more fun than "boring" novice and Open heeling. (Heeling work IS forever though). I think this helped, as there was always some different exercise to work on in training. While we have done a lot of competition this year, really we have only been doing the traditional obedience competition for 5 months
Of course I will find out this weekend how well we do in Utility!
I know with Belle (Kodi's mom) I went through all of what you are talking about. It took 7-8 trials just to get three legs and title. She would shut down and just watch me do the heeling pattern.
It may be that you need to take a break for awhile and train not only for Utility, but what ever she like also.
I know that my dogs like training at home, and I know that they like going to obedience class (happy faces, excited, perky , attentive heeling, etc), and Emilu USED TO like shows - I used to joke that she would win happiest dog at the show, and strangers would remark on it. But somewhere, starting in Rally Advanced, she lost it. Sometimes are better than others, but mostly laggy heeling, ears down, etc. It happens right at the start, so I haven't had time to act THAT much differently. We're working on 'happy things" to do at trials now, and a "happy thing" for between excercises in Open (we're having our Open debut next Sat. I'm sure with her, much of it has to do with the stress of so many different dogs at a show. She is dog reactive, and gets used to the dogs in our class, but a bunch of new ones has to make her a little on edge. It's also funny to see her in class - if we're lined up in a row and each dog has to do a recall separatly, you can tell sh'es nervous - eveyone standing there looking at her and all those dogs......she walks in slowly, making glances here and there to make sure everything is OK. She's better by herself in the show ring as far as that goes. If we could only carry yummpy treats into the ring, we'd have it made! That dog will do anything for a treat!
Well I know Caleb isn't thrilled with Utility in the ring. He's stressed to the max. My job is to creat challenging situations in training so the ring looks easy. If I'm having fun with him, he's having fun. They cue so much off of us. Yes, some of our worse runs occurred when I thought we'd be right on and vise versa. My dog has fun cause I creat it to be fun. I have games we play between exercises to work on attitude. I also have corrections I can use in the ring. I work on having training sessions that will be like my ring time. I have actually set rings up and went back and forth for about three run-thrus of each. Yes, it stresses him and he isn't always having fun but we're working through stuff. Like I said from all my dogs, they are having fun if I am having fun. Dogs like agility cause we like agility. My boys like obedience cause we are having fun together. Yes, as I said there are times when we are not having fun but we work through it.
Ofen what we do in heeling is if they lag we slow down, so they slow down, so we slow down, etc. If Caleb is having a lagging day, I speed up--he has to catch me. I do a lot of doodling exercises in my heeling work to keep it exciting. That is why rally is fun for most dogs. We often are the ones who have made things boring
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
I think Felicia hit the nail on the head with the above statement. Our dogs don't want to do this, it's not their choice to go to shows, it is our choice. So yes, you have to make it fun for the dog, and yes you have to know when your dog is not having fun, and yes you have to make the decision about what to do about thatAfter all, the dogs didn't choose to go into the ring, we chose that for them, so we owe it to them to make it fun. I did promise him that when we started all this that the day it stopped being fun for either of us, we'd stop. I don't need the titles that badly. So, the internal dilemma...
I absolutely knew with Magnum that her demeanor was due to her great dislike of what we were doing. She's just that way, I can tell with her when she's really having a grand time. And the formal-ness of the obedience ring was not her cup of tea. I don't need titles on my dogs, so I stopped showing her in obedience.
In all honesty I'd rather have a dog like Magnum that really let me know, "hey, I don't like doing this."
Instead, I have a dog like Ruger... he's either the PERFECT dog in the ring, making no mistakes and doing 110%. Or he just totally sucks. There's no middle ground with him and it's been very hard for me to get advanced titles with him because of it. I've decided that I'm no longer worrying about it. If we get a UD, we get a UD. If not, it's not the end of the world and I won't love him any less.
I think you are the one who has to really know your dog, know yourself, know how much you are willing to push your dog and yourself to continue toward whatever your goals are, and also know when you should change your goals and do something else with your dog.
We're only one leg from her CDX and we are entered in a trial in October. Hopefully, we'll finish up and then we will go ahead and scale obedience back- go to privates once a month instead of 1-2x weekly.Originally Posted by henrysmom
It's really not just a performance issue- it's a difference in her eyes and her entire body language. I think part of it may be because she's really just a baby.
We're in an agility class right now and she loves it. She loves field work and she loved tracking when we were doing it. I think we may do those for a while and try to keep in with obedience/utility with very occasional privates.
oh my gosh! GREAT Thread! Though it's scary for me to think Rocky may never love rally (as in, it's not as simple as I was nervous because it was my first time) - I am relieved to hear it's not unusual either.
Great food for thought. Like Felicia (and everyone else) said it's up to me now to make it fun for Rocky. As with all your dogs he LOVES training for this.
But I have also seen Rocky completely shut down (COMPLETELY!) when it came to bumpers and I found it was my fault for going about it the wrong way (live and learn!). Once I found what worked - bingo, changed dog. So I'm hoping to find that "key" again for Rally.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky