Sunday, April 7, 2013

National Broken Sit-Stay Day!

Don't you know that today is a holiday?  Today, the dogs of my house celebrate National Broken Sit-Stay Day in the form of breaking Sit-Stays in the Obedience and Rally Obedience rings!  I am just so proud of them.

Well.  Ein had his first Rally Excellent leg today.  He was in one of his "moods" this morning, not wanting to leave the house.  Hm.  We all loaded up into the car and arrived super early, like I wanted to.  The venue was very nice, it was at a kid's day camp.  Plenty of shade, lots of grass.  I left the crates in the car and worked from there, the rings were that close.  Ein was still in a "mood" when I got him out of the car to warm him up.  Wouldn't stand for me.  Wouldn't back up for me.  I put him back in the car and worked Perri until Ein's ring time.

I did the walk-thru and got Ein back out of the car.  He was much snappier!  Smiley,  interested in food rewards, I had my happy Ein back.  The course was very do-able for Ein.  There were two left pivot-type signs, the moving back up was there, and we had to do the jump twice.  But, really.  All do-able.  We heeled up to the stop sign, him grinning up at me, and set off.

Guess what?  The ring was laid over top of a soccer field.  Painted lines and all.  So what?  Not so what.  One of the lines ran right in front of the jump and Ein stopped dead in front of it.  He sniffed it and wilted.  He sniffed the jump, which I encouraged him over a second time.  Ein took that jump, but he was a wreck.  Each time we would come to a line, and there was of course plenty of Line Approaches, Ein would wilt, pick his feet up awkwardly and look at the line, troubled.  Confidence shattered, he also kept staring out of the ring.  We slogged through the course.  I forgot myself and clapped on several occasions to bring his focus back to me, and that lost us plenty of points.  Not allowed to do that in Excellent.  (In the interest of looking at the bright side, he did do a nice moving back up, albeit curved at the end.)   We were finally finished the course!  The sign was the Sit-Stay and I had to fetch Ein's leash.  I KNOW my hand was on my stomach and not signaling him, but Ein broke his stay.  VERY unusual for him and I know it was due to stress.  That brought our score down from an 82 to a 72.  We qualified.  Barely.  

Next was Perri.  My girl's first time in the Obedience ring.  All morning her heeling, in practice, was terrible.  She wanted to sniff sniff sniff sniff.  I think that the show environment was stressing her out.  Part of entering this trial was to see how she handled a show environment.  And I got my answer!

I had sinking heart for any kind of "Obedient" heeling, but I thought I would try my best.  It is hard for me to not be able to talk to my dog at all during our time in the ring.  The heeling pattern was simple enough.  Some turns, some pace changes.  Perri sniffed the Entire. Time.  She failed to sit at the halt.
The figure 8 was just about the same, although there were a few times that she paid some attention to me.  Again, she did not sit.

Next was the Sit-Stay.  Perri held her stay while I walked all around the ring.  She did not budge.
Then was the Sit for Exam.  Again, Perri sad perfectly still, did not even sniff the judge when her head was patted.
And then...Sit-Leave Dog-Recall.  I sat Perri.  I told her to Stay and turned and walked away from her. The absolute second I turned around, Perri bolted to me and sat at perfect front.

There were some very bad moments, and some moments I was very proud of!  Perri got some ring experience, and I can see the areas that we need to work on.  It was not a total disaster!  Our score would have been 180 if Perri had not broken that stay.  Not pretty, but it's something.

Now.  Let's see if I can improve that heeling by our May trials.  And here's hoping that the rally rings aren't laid on top of a soccer field ever again!

1 comment:

  1. May is a long ways from now. Plenty of time for fixes!

    On crooked backups: How are you teaching the backup?

    Pongu used to be really crooked ALL THE TIME (in fact he's still crooked now if I have him back up for long distances, but since he can go about 10' without getting too crooked I don't worry about it; he will never have to back away that far in anything but freestyle, and I kinda gave up on freestyle).

    Anyway, he hated the X-pen shaping method (where you use ring gates or flattened X-pens to make a straight channel so the dog has to go straight backwards or bump into the walls); it's a good technique if your dog isn't too sensitive to the "pressure" of having those walls in close proximity, but Pongu doesn't like feeling fenced in, so I didn't use that method.

    Ended up doing it with target mats instead: (yoga mat to keep him on a straight path, bath mat as a final target to indicate the exercise is finished; later I phased out the yoga mat for back-ups and just did the target mat).

    That's a back up from front, obviously, but once he learned to do it straight that way, I had no trouble at all transitioning it to a straight back up in Heel position.