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Discussion Starter #1
Yes, Dusty is actually somewhat capable of not being a bad rude doggy :p: We worked on this years ago and he keeps offering heeling while we're just walking around, so I thought it might be fun to play with. Obedience people - any thoughts? I know next to nothing about competitive obedience and I'm not looking for super-awesome, but it could be fun to try novice rally or something this summer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5l__8hLh9M

There's also a lot of agility videos up, Dusty is in the one of December 19-20 (the others are on dirt which is too hard on his old joints and stuff). Boo-the-Lab got his MXJ and is up to 4 double-Q's now, which is pretty cool.
 

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Very cute! I definately think you should give rally a try!
 

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I agree--give rally a try! With rally novice, the exercises are done on lead, so those would be a snap for the two of you, since he follows you so well off lead. You would only have to learn the signs.

He's ring savvy, so he can handle the distractions of other dogs around the ring, and other handlers playing with their dogs, warming them up. Rally works the same way as agility--people use various ways to get dogs warmed up and focused on them--toys and/or treats and your agility background would make things so easy for you. When I put RN titles on my two late goldens, I trained with several agility people, and they were sooooo smooth in the ring, and were such naturals. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks :) I think he'd like getting to compete some, and it's always fun to try something new.

How strict are they about the rally exercises in which the dog has to lie down? Due to some stress issues that started like 10 years ago, Dusty is kind of iffy about lying down on the ground unless he's really excited (he's fine on the agility table). So he might end up downing slowly or pointing toward me rather than straight ahead. Would that be okay? Obviously I'd do my best to get him happy about downing quickly and pointing in the right direction, but you never quite know when stuff like that is going to pop up again.
 

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If he downs, but does it slowly, judge might take off nothing to a point.

If he's out of position (a down I think is always done from heel position in rally) it would be scorable, depending on how much out of position, up to 10 points.

The most important thing is that he gets all the way down, elbows touching.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the help!

Do I have to just stand there like a statue saying "down"? It might help him if I bent over some and tried to lure him down, or moved forward a tiny bit, but I want to make sure I'm not getting into a bad habit. It's just one of those things where I've done a lot of retraining, completely new cue than what I used in his initial obedience training, got him 99% cool about downing on the table in agility, but the problem will just pop up if he's stressed or unhappy about something. Thankfully the trial environment doesn't stress him out at all, so he'll probably be fine.
 

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Body wise, rally is scored from the ankles down. So you could bend over, point to the floor, etc, but you couldn't step forward. You can also repeat the command if he doesn't respond the first time. You can talk all you want, including giving him the command as many times as he needs.
 

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Personally, I wouldn't "move forward a tiny bit" because there's no wiggle room with the rally signs. You have to do what the signs tell you to do. Pointing to the floor, bending knees or bending over--that would be fine, but in rally one step means one step, not a step and a half.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ohh that's excellent, thank you both so much for your help. I tried it a little bit with him (just in the living room) and he did great. When he stops and sits and then I ask for a down it took a reminder to get the elbows all the way down, because his new-happy-down cue is from a stand. We probably need to work on new-happy-down-from-a-sit. And then as long as we work on fading the food sometime before we compete, and nothing weird happens to stress him out, we should be in good shape.

Any tips on fading the food? It wasn't really an issue in agility. I train agility with food in my hands all the time, and at trials I leave the food in a special tupperware container near the course and they're happy to go do the course and then go get their cookies. I mean, I know the basic idea of how to fade treats, but it's a lot easier when you're asking the dog to go do something really fun. Rally seems a lot less naturally attractive to a dog, so it seems like it might be harder to get a happy performance without carrying food.
 

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Get an armband holder from Laurie Burnam and start keeping your treats in there when you train. You'll have the armband on in the ring, so the visual *potential* for food will still be there. And I think with Dusty, you can happy talk your way away from food. You do a great job of keeping him motivated; rely on that as you lessen the frequency of food treats.
 
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