Friday, November 23, 2007

November 17, 2007

Well, with the CD now behind us looming strong and clear on the horizon are the next set of obedience trials. I suspect they are going to really try me. I still can't believe I have done what I did.

See I came home from Salisbury and thought, "I have four more trials entered. I hate Novice. There really isn't any good reason to stay in a class I hate." And so I picked up the phone and made the necessary phone calls. The end result is that we are now entered in the Open A class for the upcoming trials. A success will mean a Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) before the end of the month and the year. Now wouldn't that be nice?

Of course after the change in entries was made and couldn't be taken back it dawned on me that I actually didn't have either a drop on recall or a broad jump and the down/stay was on pretty shaky ground. Oh my, oh my indeed. Now what's a girl to do?

From Tuesday, November 12 until Sunday November 18, we managed three training sessions per day. No matter what, those three sessions got done. I am counting on the early foundation being strong enough to carry the day. I hope, I hope, I hope.

For the first two days each session was spent doing the complete beginning drop drills. They consist of a drop from a sit, a drop from a stand, a stand/stay and a sit/stay. Each is done 5 times. The first day I was 3' away, the second day I was 6' away. By day three I was able to start the call, drop, return cycle and by day four we had moved on to the 15' drill. Of course, it goes without saying that there were distractions in abundance.

The 15' drill consisted of a straight recall. Then in sequence came a call/drop/return; a call/drop/call; a drop/call/finish and finally a straight recall once again. To help combat Sanity's desire to go into business for herself and do an automatic finish I started the finish drill. This consists of a finish to the left. My returning to heel. A finish to the right and my stepping back into heel. So she has to wait, if for no other reason that because she has not a clue as to which thing I am going to want her to do.

Besides doing the drop on recall drills, we got really serious about the broad jump. Now, least you all think this is some sort of magic or something, let me say right off that all this year I have had an apprentice run Sanity over the broad jump for me. She has had literally hundreds of repetitions at jumping that jump on command. What she was lacking was doing it by herself and then making the turn and coming back to a front position.

Over and over we practiced that jump. First with the help of a 15' longe line and a little tap with the ecollar and then the ecollar was traded in on the low tech micro prong. Finally that, too went away and with it went the longe line.

What about the retrieves? Piece of cake. They became the backwash to something she knows and likes to do. A typical training session would start with the drop on recall drills, move to the retrieve on the flat, cut back to the broad jump and finish with the retrieve over the high jump.

Yet looming over all this was the ever present problem with heeling. My problem, not hers. Some how I have got to get a handle on it.

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