Ian and I attended the Casco Bay Dog Training Club's obedience/rally trial yesterday. I figured it would be a good dry run for the Nationals, since I apparently suffered some sort of cerebral event and entered Ian in both obedience trials in Gettysburg. Also, we haven't trialed since last November.
The Good: Attitude was good, tail was wagging, heeling was attentive if sloppy. Figure 8 was good. Good retrieve on the flat - relatively straight sit (for Ian), no mouthing or playing with the dumbbell. Good dumbbell toss over the high jump by Yours Truly; nice and straight, good distance from the jump but not too far.
The Bad: No drop on the Recall. Ian clearly heard me, gave me that happy little look that says "I've never heard that word before" and came to front, sitting crookedly. On the long sit, he went down with about 10 seconds left to go in the exercise. And I ALWAYS practice longer than 3 minutes. Sigh.
The Ugly: Because Ian has always been only about 50/50 on the retrieve if I give a voice command, I use a hand signal instead. After my nice, straight throw of the dumbbell over the jump, I gave the signal just as Ian turned away from me to look at Grammy sitting outside the ring. Oops. Bad handler. And then: the broad jump. I took my spot and told Ian "Over!" He looked at the jump, looked at me, said "Aw, HELL no" and wandered over to stand in front of me.
Looks like we'll be doing a LOT of work on the broad jump this week. The recall is a tough one: if I over-practice the drop, Ian downs himself without waiting for my command. Also, I get a really slow, creeping recall. And contrary to his little charade, he DOES know what the word "Down!" means. I practice that a lot when they are in the house, running around the yard, etc. Yesterday, I think the lack of drop was just him "being a Cardigan." More long sit work. And more pounding it into my forehead that, if you're going to give a hand signal, WAIT UNTIL THE DOG IS LOOKING AT YOU!
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