Sunday, October 13, 2013

Denise Fenzi Seminar: Working Spot

Apparently I didn't take any pictures at the seminar, so here.
Have a photo of dogs in party hats for no reason other than it's funny.
Once again, Maisy and I had a working spot in Denise’s seminar. We worked on heeling (because heeling always needs work!) and scent articles. I was just getting sick at this seminar, so mostly I was out of breath, dizzy, and coughing up an almost literal lung. (I promptly went home and needed a week off from work because pneumonia.)

Soooo… I don’t remember things too well, but I am pretty sure that Denise said that Maisy is the cutest dog she’s ever ever ever met in her entire life, and would I take a million dollars for her. I was like hell no! and then she cried. It was pretty sad.

(Note: that probably didn’t happen.)

She also said that Maisy is not a dog that can come straight out of her crate and go into the ring. I already knew this, but it was nice to have it confirmed. I have a pretty heavy warm up routine that involves a lot of heeling and pivoting and cookies, and only one or two reps of the trickier things like a moving down or whatever.

The other thing is that I really need to adjust my style for the situation. The way I play and get Maisy excited during training at home just does not work for her in a public setting. My excitement level actually made her disconnect, so Denise had me sit with her quietly instead. Oh, Maisy, you complicated dog, you. I’m not surprised by this information, but the confirmation that I need to adjust my style based on circumstances was helpful.

Maisy’s biggest heeling problem is lagging, so we did a lot of work with the invisible dog. Basically, I heeled in big circles, and every so often, I would offer a treat to the dog at my side. If Maisy was there, she got the treat. If she wasn’t, the invisible dog did. Let me tell you, she was a bit miffed when she realized that! She definitely drives up into heel position when the invisible dog is out with us.

We started from scratch with the scent articles; I hadn’t done much with them. I had five metal tins (small Altoid tins), and we put food in one of them. Then we set them out and waited for Maisy to check out the tins. When she showed interest in a tin, we would open it and show her what was inside. If she found the right tin, she would get the food! If she didn’t, we simply shrugged and told her we were sorry (and then removed the tin from the pile because we’d touched it).

This is all we did in the seminar, but the advice going forward was to not worry about the retrieve (that can be taught separately and added in later, although at home Maisy is usually bringing me the tin when she’s interested in it). Then, once she is very certain about the food 100% of the time, we are to put a cookie in the tin every other time to fade out the use of food. We haven’t done this yet.

Honestly, we haven’t done a ton of training since the seminar, though we’ve done bits and pieces here. It’s been a long year, what with the divorce and all, so Maisy and I have mostly just hung out together and done easy stuff like hiking. But in the last few weeks, I’ve started working on Open stuff again, because I really would like to get her CDX and maybe even the UD. I know that the things we worked on with Denise will help us with that! So, stay tuned!  

1 comment:

Dizzy said...

Dogs in hats, always a solid picture choice.