Tonight, my friends Elizabeth and Beckett and Maisy and I went to an obedience run-through. We both did Novice CDSP.
Maisy waiting patiently for Elizabeth to pick us up.
It was the perfect kind of run-through: Laid-back. The "judge" for the night let us redo exercises when we needed to, and gave great training advice. The best part is that the "judge" is a local R+ trainer, so all over her suggestions were things I am willing to do!
Maisy did wonderfully. Here's the play-by-play:
Honor: The entire reason we went was to practice the honor. Maisy and I struggle with stays. I find them boring to train, and she has issues with impulse control. Since the honor requires her to stay while another dog moves (and moves quickly!) I wasn't sure if she would be able to do this exercise. Well, she passed! We did a sit, and she held it very well. She did look around a bit, but I was able to get her attention back without problem, and I didn't even have to give her a second cue!
On-leash Heeling Pattern: Maisy's heeling has improved a lot this year. Elizabeth said that Maisy never took her eyes off me! We've worked hard to build focus and attention, and I'm glad it paid off. The best part was that we did the entire pattern- normal, halt, normal, right turn, slow, normal, about turn, fast, normal, left turn, halt- all of that with no treats! And she still paid attention! Okay, so she lagged on the fast pace- we've struggled with that for awhile now- but I'm still quite happy with her performance. Handler-wise, I was encouraged to walk faster, something I've been working on, but clearly need more work yet.
Off-leash Figure 8: We spent a lot of time on this one. She did well going to the left (where she is on the inside), and I was pleased that she didn't go visit the "posts." However, I really lost her on the right, and she lagged quite a bit. Again, I'm not surprised, as this is one of our weak areas. We worked it several times, and I got excellent advice.
The big thing was they encouraged me to do was to run on those right turns, and to not look back at her. Every time I looked back, she got slower. I was also told that I need to make my circles "softer" and rounder, instead of turning so sharply. Finally, the "judge" correctly noted that every time she slows down and sniffs, I slow down too.
Moving Stand for Exam: Other than the fact that I should have read the rules, we did well. I've been practicing having her stop and stand or stop and down while I keep walking, so I did that at first. I guess I'm supposed to stop, too. Once I figured that out, it went well.
Recall over Bar Jump: Whoops, NQ. Didn't expect it here! I set her up about 10 feet away from the jump, then I went to the other side about 10 feet away, and called her to "come front." She went around the jump. I thought perhaps my cue was wrong, so I set her up again, this time about 8 feet on either side of the jump, and cued "come jump," the correct cue. Again, she went around. When we set her up at 3 feet on either side, she got it. It was a very nice jump, too, so clearly it was just a lack of training instead of a physical issue tonight.
Reactivity: I'm pleased to report that Maisy handled herself very well. We were there for about an hour, and okay, she did growl a bit at a lab (only when the dog was 50 feet away. When the dog was sitting right next to her earlier, it was fine, and she was fine once the dog got close again. I have no idea what to make of that- perhaps the dog moved oddly?). However, it was a single isolated incident towards the end of our time there, and she was easily redirected, so I'm not going to stress over it too much.
She was also incredibly good about being chill and hanging around. I had her mat, of course, and she went right to it. She mostly sat on it, although she occasionally lay down, too. She looked happy and relaxed about 95% of the time, which is really encouraging!
Overall, I'm quite pleased with her progress. I feel like she's come a long way in the past six months or so. Although I'd been considering trying CDSP at the next local trials at the end of the month, now I know that I want to spend some more time training first. Maybe Elizabeth, Beckett, Maisy and I can make our obedience debut together next winter, instead!