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Discussion Starter #1
Still no Q, but today was so much better than yesterday. Well, in some ways.

It was some of the worst heeling I've ever seen Simon do. Wow, really laggy and distracted. Figure 8 was just as bad. I don't think there was one sit during all of the heeling exercises. It's so strange, because he was heeling absolutely GORGEOUS right before we walked into the ring. Heads up, all bouncy and happy. When we walked into the ring, I swear it was like someone had flipped a switch and turned him off.

I have a new theory about why this happens: Could it be possible that, when they walk into the ring, they smell the stress (and sometimes fear) of every other dog who has come before them that day?

I'm not buying that it's my stress, because I was absolutely not stressed today. No way. I was happy talking, we heeled right into the ring, and as soon as he got in there, BAM. He went off.

Anyway...so that part was bad, and I imagine we got a crazy number of points off, but not enough to NQ.

DOR: Fabulous! Good job Mr. Simon! Even did a cute finish on this one.

Then, the dreaded Retrieve on Flat, our nemesis for the past two days. Both days I had to give two commands. Today, I had been next door in the big empty building a few minutes before, and we practiced this. He did it!!!! YIPPPEEEE! We had a big party in the ring over this.

Retrieve Over Jump. This was fine on Friday, and on Saturday he went over and didn't get the dumbbell, and returned over the broad jump (to the amusement of the crowd). Today he went over, came back around and stood there looking at me like, "Uh oh. I know I just messed up, but I swear I can't remember what I was supposed to do." So, there was our NQ.

Broad jump: He's done well for the past two days, but today he went over then came and stood sort of in front and off to the side, again looking confused.

Stays: ROCK. Good boy Simon!

I was still proud of him today, and proud of me too for making double-triple-sure he was getting enough praise and positive feedback. The judge complimented him, saying I had a very good dog, and she was impressed that this was one of his first tries at Open. In fact, after stays, she came over and told us we qualified. I was like, "Um, no, I don't think so..." Then she looked again and remembered that we hadn't done the Retrieve Over Jump. I think she *wanted* us to Q! :p

So, we have a few things to work on. The next trial will be in a month, at our club again. I'm going to start taking him to Open class and working more on retrieves.
 

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Good Show Simon (and you too Connie). I'm glad you went.

What happend to the "loud" lady?

Simon does exactly what Ruger did... upbeat outside of the ring, in fact so upbeat at times he was obnoxiously upbeat, as soon as we entered the ring I could see him literally deflate. And I agree with you... I don't know why. He'd been to gazillions of shows. He did this in agility too. And like you I was not stressed. So I don't get it either.
 

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Yay! Good to hear. :) All in all sounds like a great start to Simon's Open career!
 

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Glad things went better today!! Lord only knows why the dogs do what they do sometimes. As my instructor says "Now you know what your homework is!"
 

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It sounds like things went pretty well over all. I also have a "wilter" in the ring. Emilu lags horribly , needs 2 commands for everthing else and walks the broad jump - all things that she "never does" in training.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Deflate...that's the perfect word for it. Angus does it too, worse than Simon.

One of my mentors (a guy with the #1 Collie in obedience nationally) was even remarking before Simon went in how "willing" he was. I am totally mystified by this. A lot the people at my club would try to tell me it was my ring nerves, but I'm glad you believe me on that. I really do know when I'm nervous and when I'm not (nervous is an emotion I am very much in touch with...LOL). And this time, I was definitely not.

Oh yeah, I forgot to update about loud lady. She was indeed back today, but seemed much more dialed down than yesterday. I was still beside her in stays, but since I'd already NQ'd I gave me and Simon a good eight feet between us, and nobody moved us, so it was better. :)

I think maybe, just maybe, if we train a lot, maybe Simon can get a couple of Qs at the next trial in May. You know, we *really* haven't trained much for this. We only started training seriously for it about two months ago. He started learning the exercises last year, but then the feet, and then we were busy during the winter. So, I am just really proud of Simon, as I think he's come a long way with not that much instruction.

Seriously, you all: We ALMOST DID IT twice this weekend! The judge today told me we were one exercise short. And Friday was even better than today - he only missed the Retrieve on Flat, and his heeling was not all that bad Friday.

The retrieves are definitely our homework. And heeling. :)
 

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That's great! It sounds like, and you mentioned it, that you just need to work on all those excersizes more so that you and Simon are more confident. Retrieves, we've worked retrieves for 2 years and Miles is so solid on those, know exactly what is expected no matter where that dumbbell lands. Once we worked the broad jump enough, he got solid on that too.

Heeling, heeling, heeling. That is our nemesis too. Like Simon, Miles can heel beautifully outside the ring and lag, lag, lag in the ring. I have been told by a few, very experienced handlers, that I need to love heeling more. I think it is boring, so my dog thinks it is boring. I also don't work on it enough in practice. I am trying to learn to love heeling and love training it so I will train it alot. Connie, maybe you need to also learn to love heeling.

It is good you went back. You mentioned that loud lady competes alot. If that is the case, Simon is going to have to get used to her anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That is a very good point about heeling, I think. Hmmm. Big Hmmmm.

If I think about it (if anyone thinks about it), the exercises we enjoy the most are probably the ones our dogs are best at. That would explain why, for example, when Simon seemed "shut down" in the ring yesterday, I could still get him to leap straight up in the air in between exercises. Or why they constantly "offer" the cute little tricks at home that get them lots of laughs and attention.

It would also explain why Angus was so wonderful at heads-up heeling when he first started, then over the years has seemed to get worse. I have videos of him in Rally Novice that I look at now and think, "Where did that go?!?!"
 

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Right, we naturally practice the things we enjoy the most, and the others, not so much. Or, we focus so much on learning some new, more advanced skill, we let boring old heeling fall by the wayside and, guess what?
 

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I think we also concsiously/subconcsiously reward more for stuff we enjoy or are impressed with. I have always been fascinated with weaving dogs, its just so impressive to me. So when my guys first started weaving, I was SO excited, and would reward for the smallest steps forward. :D They both seriously rock the weave poles now, especially Peanut. But jumping...? Bo-ring. So, neither dog is a stellar jumper. :redface:

But they have great weaves! :happy:
 

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I had to come looking for this, thought I missed it in Lab Chat...

I'm very proud of you guys! One exercise away is so close you can taste it!

You guys are two up on us, the sits and downs, they're Ruby's nemesis. If she never had to do an out of site sits and downs the world would be a brighter place for me.

As for heeling, I've never had one that wilted, but I know of some that do. My instructor has them heel in and out of the ring, rewarding only in the ring. Perhaps at some point he's negatively associated being inside the ring, wheras outside is much friendlier etc.

Good job again, can't wait to hear how he does in May!
 
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