Wednesday, January 06, 2010

More Bars in More Places

This really is about the Wednesday morning Open/Utility class. Like just about everything else in my life it seems the things I don't plan for, those things that just sort of happen or just grew are always the best. My Wednesday morning Open/Utility class is one of those just grew things.

It started out with two students who traveled a fair distance to study under me. They wanted Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) obedience titles on their dogs. This is my Intermediate level class. Both dogs already had their Companion Dog (CD) titles. The Novice class is where I normally teach the necessary requirements for basic living and it is those basic living skills that are the basis of the Companion Dog title.

The problem was the same as is always is when I face students in this condition. While it is true the CD was earned and in their cases, with good scores, the foundation was so weak unless we went back and rebuilt there was going to be no way I could give them what they wanted in a reasonable manner of time, if at all.

So they stayed. I taught and they were both good, diligent students with good dogs. The strongly rebuilt foundation made it possible to move on in a timely fashion and the CDX's were earned fairly quickly and with good scores. Then it was on to Utility Dog (UD). Meanwhile, a friend and her dog joined the class for a time. A couple of my Novice students joined the class.

The original two students completed the Advanced material (Utility Dog) and moved on to the really difficult stuff. Learning the art of keeping a dog's spirits up, keeping it enjoyable and at the same time building in more and more reliability, stamina and precision. In due time both dogs had completed the requirements for a Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) and shoot, if you are going to do that then might just as well finish up with an Obedience Trial Championship. So they did.

Of course, more students from my novice class and/or my retrieve class joined this lovely mid-week class. So here's what this bunch looked like this morning. It was cold and blustery outside, while inside in my little training studio six dogs and six humans were warm, comfortable and doing a nice mixture of new and difficult tasks along with comfortable and easy tasks. Here they are doing the down/stay part of a set of stays.

Seeing as how none of us seem to be able to "just train" we all agreed it would be fun to play around with the dumbbell visit again. So we lined everyone up and left them doing a sit/stay with a twist. Everyone one holding their dumbbell.

For those of you who might be wondering or perhaps don't recognize all the breeds. From the left they are Standard Poodle, Caruso; Doberman, Sanity; Labrador, Pete; Brussels Griffon, Cabot; Yorkshire Terrier, Ellie and Maltese, Rugby.

While it is true I could have just used one shot instead of three, it just seemed like it would be more interesting to show three of the 9 taken. See, while they were working on holding the sit/stay and the dumbbell we were all dashing back and forth, jumping up and down, making silly noises and just about anything else we could think of. Sure its true that the silly humans were either supplying distractions or just playing the fool. Meanwhile, the dogs were getting a chance to learn what I think of as 'steady under fire'.

It actually wasn't until later when I finally load the pictures on my computer that Sam and I both realized we had the beginnings of an AT&T commercial. In this case I get to say, More Dogs in More Places. No, there really isn't any point in sending this in to AT&T. Seems they don't want any outside suggestions. Poop on them, their loss, our gain.

Not a bad sit/stay. Not a bad dumbbell hold. And best of all a darn good More Dogs in More Places. AT&T, eat your heart out.


  1. What great pix!! What a fun class! Lookit how much can be done in a tiny little indoor studio....

    Of course, I might be a bit biased, since my dog is included in those pix as a member of the class!!!

  2. That means the dogs get full signal down there?? :p

  3. Oh, Pam. Cabot IS the cutest!! All look pleased and proud of their accomplishment(s). Gotta love that work ethic and the talented trainers who can tap into it.