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Ok gang. I am SERIOUSLY new at this. I understand some, and have a long way to go on a lot of things. However my big thing is "practice". I am not sure how to do it.

I know that sounds weird. I do keep my sessions short. I have my "homework" from my trainer, and I run through those exercises 3-4 reps of each. Do a little heeling, a little back downs, but I am not sure I am doing 'enough' or doing it right. It feels awkward to me when I do practice, just because I am not sure. When I say I keep my sessions short, once I do my homework it has been about 15 min and we move on and do something else.

Teddi today, we went for a long walk as she has to get a few pounds off her. I don't really do any "obedience" stuff on our walks but I do occassionally do a few steps of heeling, and there is a place I do stays and comes. Gives the dog a chance to stretch their legs too. With Teddi I want eye contact, so when we stop to cross streets I want her to look me in the eye before we cross. She is getting better at this I am pleased. Today also I took her tug toy and when we did the off leash running around at the park, I played WITH her with the tug. That I thought was very beneficial. But that was the extent of her obedience work today. She needs to work into more structured work or I lose her mind.

Gabby she can work all day. She does things so well or so I think, that I don't do much. I don't know when to ask for more, or if I should. Sometimes I don't know what more might be. I do plan to talk about this with my trainer, I kind of feel like I did when I started riding. I didn't know how to work the horse, so I just rode. Not sure I know how to 'work' obedience. What are some really basic stuff that must be solid?

I feel so clueless.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Can you set up a video camera to tape your practice sessions. I am sure it would be a HUGE help to you to see what it actually looks like. Also would help instructor to see what and how you are doing things. Just a thought.
 

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I break everything down into very small, most basic pieces when I am teaching, and as soon as I am consistently getting what I want with that I will step it up a little more. I still keep things in parts and pieces for a very long time, my dog will be proficient at all the different parts of an exercise long before he ever does it together as one full exercise.

So for instance, heeling. The first thing I work on is stationary attention. After several weeks of that I will start heeling ONE step. Then I will slowly add on a few more steps at a time. We spend a LONG time just on straight line heeling - no halts, no pace changes, and no turns. As the dog is progressing on straight line heeling, I will work completely seperately on those other pieces. So we might have left turn sessions where we practice left turns either completely stationary or with no more than one step into them and one step out of them. I'm not going to put the left turn into the heeling until both pieces are how I want them seperately. Same thing with halts, and every other piece that needs to go into heeling - I will work it by itself and get it how I want it, and then I will add it into the overall heeling.

I train pretty much everything this way. Another benefit is that when something starts to fall apart, it makes it very easy to go back and work on the individual part that is giving the dog trouble.

My dog was almost two years old the first time he ever started doing full runthroughs, despite the fact that he had learned all the pieces seperately long long before that.
 
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Kate
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I think if you are teaching everything to a novice dog, you need to set aside training time every day. And working a little on everything every day.

With Jacks I think I had the ring format in mind (heel on leash, figure 8, stand for exam, heel off leash, and fronts) for our daily official practice in our garage or driveway. Not so much a full routine with everything, but training the bits and pieces where we were at.

And then we always finished with something fun like retrieves. <- And the reason why that was always last is because he would get out of control when the toys came out. He still does.

As you get to that polishing stage where you are just keeping everything fresh, you can just move on to the NILF method every day (before supper, your dogs have to do stays and pivots, for example) and couple training days a week.

I think Adele has a accountability schedule form for each week where she has everything listed off on the left and she just checks off if she worked on that thing that day. You can look her up on facebook to check it out.
 

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where the tails wag
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Ann, I am an admitted geek. So, I create an overall plan for the week and month, then work on filling in the exercises I need to teach, proof, polish or maintain. I check the previous week's exercises worked and make sure I fill in missing pieces as needed (for example I really have to remind myself to work transitions in heeling and the Table in agility)

If you are just starting, attention and head position are key - generally where the head goes the body will follow. So if I was just starting, my plan might be something like:

1) Attention step 1 where you hold a treat and C/T when your dog takes his eyes off the treat for a nanosecond and meets your eyes - usually by accident. Heeling does not start until I have attention. Then it is 1 step, 2 steps etc. This would be in a big circle so no turns are involved.
2) Start the sit, and perhaps down.
3) Start recall games where no front is required (ie, toss food between your legs, play tug when they get to you etc)
4) Start the finish where you place yourself in front, and start the teaching of finish.

I actually have spreadsheets to make sure I work all the exercises over the course of say 2 weeks, and use Rally exercises a lot to provide interest.

For instance, on a Saturday morning, I may have left turns noted, so will pull several cards from my Rally stack for left turns or from my doodling exercises. I might go wandering or I might pull a training location from another spreadsheet that I have not visited recently. Like I said, admitted nerd but without my charts, I can go months without practicing say the normal to slow paces LOL

I also progress distractions; I might work Faelan & Casey inside Petco but Towhee needs a calmer environment still, so I work her outside on the sidewalk. Faelan can startle at loud noises, so I need to remember to get him somewhere noise at least a few times a month.

There is a ton of stuff to train, so take your time and try to find a method and pattern that works for you. With multiple dogs, logs can really help if you are training the same things. A good rule of thumb is to stop training when they still want to work - unless of course, you have a dog who stresses or decides when its time to quit in which case you may need to work through these things.

I will also sometimes just put an exercise away if my dog is struggling with it. This seems to be Towhee's method of learning the retrieve - she was grabbing that dumbbell tonight from 3 feet away and has not seen it in over a week.

When I am starting a major teaching phase, I will create a chart for 2 or more months out of just that exercise. For instance, the retrieve exercise - I have a Spreadsheet/log for Towhee that I created months ago but she is having issues trusting that taking stuff in her mouth and bringing it to me is really a good idea. So, I am taking my time and just noting her progress. I do use the 80% rule, track locations, responses, treats, rewards etc. I use this sheet to bounce back to easier to harder and track the re-reinforcement schedule. I hate having to go back when I miss a step so for major learning plans, I move slowly. Other folks just kind of wing it :)
 
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Yep, Sharon's a geek! :p:

j/k, I am too, just in a totally different way!
 

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where the tails wag
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Yep, Sharon's a geek! :p:

j/k, I am too, just in a totally different way!
LOL - oh Jodie, just wait until you are training multiple dogs in multiple sports and stare at your dog and think, And what is your problem? You were great last week .. oh wait, it was _____ who aced it :doh::doh::doh:
 

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I can't tell you how many times I've given a wrong command to Conner or Flip, because I used all new commands with Flip, and I still give wrong ones to this day! Luckily he usually figures out what I meant. Conner, I just said heck with it, and retired him LOL
 

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Did I ever mention I am subscribed to 15 different yahoo training groups? :uhoh:

Geeky in my own way, just not an organized way! LOL
 

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Riot's mom
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So funny, I feel the same way with Riot, even though I've trained a dog all the way through before. I keep sessions short, but I make sure that I get good time with each little piece I'm working on. I work A LOT on heeling. A lot. I start with straight lines but I also move onto really large circles, with the dog first on the outside and then progress to them on the inside. Gets them used to driving (on outside) and slowing (on inside). I look for progress, like a longer period without a break in attention. Personally, I like to start all sorts of exercises while working on the little things you have to nit-pick (heeling, fronts, finishes). You could start directed jumping, retrieve over the high jump, broad jump, etc. The nuts and bolts of these exercises are really fun for the dog and keep attitude up. Even when I start something new, I always work on heeling, fronts, and finishes, everyday. But of course, I am a perfectionist and I know that I want really nice scores. So I work these things because these are the hardest to get right consistently.

I think working a little bit of a few things each session is good. Look for improvement and build on it each day. If they aren't getting something, back up and get success. Even if you just have a few minutes, work fronts or just a sit stay. Keep it fun and upbeat.

Don't stress about it. You will start to get a feel for the dog and how they are feeling about an exercise. Different dogs will have different things they are good and bad at. Also, having a good trainer will be really helpful for you!
 

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Barley & Mira's Mom
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Thanks for starting this thread, some very good information posted!!!!
 

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Kate
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I don't think this applies and it's not necessarily directed at Ann who is beyond some of this, but I thought I'd throw this in to explain how my brain worked a couple years ago when I was still teaching a lot of stuff to Jacks...

Heeling

At home we have T shaped area to work with (hallway ending at foyer and kitchen intersection).

I'd start at the intersection point and first focus on straight line heeling. The idea here is to mainly get your dog driving forward and at the perfect position and focus on you.

About turn at the end of the hall, remember your footwork. I was taught two variations of what to do with what foot, but the main thing is you want to keep your feet under you and not stepping into your dog or away.

About turns you want your dog wrapping around and driving out with you. By keeping her focus on you and keeping your feet in order, this is a sure thing.

At the intersection, footwork again for the right or left turns.

With left turns, my instructor wanted us to first teach our dogs "back" or "in", so we don't get hit with (wide) deductions in the ring. Footwork is key here.

Right turns are the same as abouts in that you want your dog wrapping with you and you want to keep your feet out of her way + you don't want to be stepping out away from your dog.

The footwork needs to be practiced with and without your dog. Without to get an idea of what you are doing + with so you can learn to focus on your feet and your dog at the same time.

I'd practice heeling/footwork with the dude in the evening, right after coming home from work.

I'd practice footwork WITHOUT the dude at work or at the store... or pretty much whenever it occurred to me during the day. :p:



Figure 8's -

I would practice outside in the yard or our basement. If out in the yard, I just took a couple water gallons out there to represent stewards. In the basement I used laundry baskets or chairs.

We broke it down to two arches with straight lines between. There is specific footwork our instructor wanted us to practice without the dogs (left foot crossing on the inside circle, right foot crossing on the outside circle). There is a lot of release + treat/toy tossing at different points to keep the dog paying attention and having fun. You don't want your dog flat walking or dragging behind.

I also practiced a lot of serpentines at this point (thankfully we have like 4 or 5 laundry baskets to line up).

I'd practice the basement f8's every night before bedtime. :p: Finish with a couple retrieves.

Stand for exam -

Something we practiced every single day. I'd practice this in our living room while watching TV. And the big thing is never rush this. :uhoh: I still need to practice a couple times every week because it's easy for the dogs to get sloppy on this and learn creeping.

With my previous guy I was TERRIBLE at placing feet and even worse with putting my dog in a stay in the ring and not realizing until I was turning around and watching the judge go in that I practically left him with all his weight on 2 feet.

So teaching your dog to automatically put his feet in a good comfortable position when you tell him stand is a lifesaver.

Fronts

Again - practice every day. Scoot and short distance fronts to teach specific front position, motivational fronts (tossing treats or toys back between your legs) to teach speed.

We would do this in the hallway right after heeling.

Finishes

Practice every day, seperate from the fronts - generally in the kitchen while making my supper or his. ;)

Stays

I regret not training this every day. :doh: In the past year, this has been our every evening thing and how Jacks earns his kibble. Picked up this method from somebody here on GRF.

Dumbbells

Every day - when we do the retrieve games after training. After we advanced from the "take it/hold" (where the dog is reaching forward to take the dumbbell from my hands and holding it solidly), dumbbell practice replaced the toy retrieve games. Short distances. Longer distances. Placed dumbbells. Etc.

Jumps

I semi-regret being over cautious and not training ANY jumping early on. :uhoh: If we did, we mainly taught the "get up" jump, where the dog is next to a 12" jump and springing from the hips. And I only did this at class.

Then again, I probably wouldn't have done anything different with Jacks or our next dog. We didn't start actual jump training at home until Jacks was 2 and I knew for sure what was going on with his hips.

About now, we practice jumps a couple times a week. This is the pass by the jump, putting him in a wait at the other end of the jump and calling him to come, and then sending him over the jump.

^^^^^ That looks pretty busy, but I swear we never trained more than 10 minutes a day (not including stays). :p:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oh do NOT assume I am beyond ANYTHING!!!! LOL I feel so stupid with the obedience work.

There is a lot of great information here. Obviously I am going in the direction my trainer takes me, but you guys have given me some good ideas on 'how' to work.
 

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where the tails wag
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I don't know if it will help - but here is my log for Faelan from last night. I ran into some issues with the weaves that took away from my plan for working pinwheels but that's how it goes sometimes - we were working with house lights on but it was darkish so I increased the level of difficulty in finding the dumbbell (I always want my dogs to look for the dumbbell if it is not readily visible since I show outside a lot; so this is an important training step to me )
 

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Loving Flyball
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I also keep my sessions short, and break things down to a bunch of little steps.
 

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Casey and Samson's Mom
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I try to train both boys everyday, but for very short bursts. I work on different exercises each day. I almost always do a short or long heel pattern. I work play into the practice constantly...I learned that I did not do this enough for Casey, but am really trying to make things fun for Samson...especially the broad jump, which has to be the most boring/meaningless obedience exercise ever invented! I build the practice sessions into my daily routine. i work full time, so train briefly after our morning walk, before I go to work and then again, briefly when I get home. I also book at least one extra time a week at our local training hall to work with a full sized ring, with real equipment and often with other dogs in adjacent rings. I do envy those who are retired and doing this who can practice more often...someday!!
 

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I do longer sessions sometimes, keeping the time full of attention games, play, and surprises, shifting from one exercise to another. I plan training time fairly formally, like I used to when I coached high school varsity soccer in terms of planning practices, lol. I never did this, until I had to take a client's small dog through her CD and RE; it challenged me bc working with a bubbly little hound was much more effortful for me than my golden, even just in terms of heeling logistics for a small dog. Now, I even set up station drills ahead of time. I like the idea of "planned spontaneity"- it feels fresh and surprising to the dog, but you as the human have really planned out how you will use your time, mind your footwork,set specific goals, and have a set of criteria for the session etc. I like working with the idea of what is rewardable and what gets either no response, a keep going signal, or a no reward marker rather than working through with corrections and strong aversives.

I really like this video of Janice's for showing the level of engagement- verbal, body, play, serious footwork, "ready/steady"- that is quality time.
http://www.youtube.com/user/tntkennels#p/u/24/TC8XBCwZcjU


For example, here are the things Lushie Plushie and I worked on this past week.

Up Sit
Sit in front
Sit at left side
Sit-stay
Signal Sit

Down in front
Down at left side
Moving Down
Down Stay
Signal down
Emergency down
Drop on Recall

Twirl/Spin
Wait/Stay

Stand
Stand Stay
Moving Stand
Signal Stand

Position Transitions: sit to down, down to stand, etc.

Recall games galore
Recalls with jackpots ( Really Reliable Recall)
Recall to Front
Go Out to Target
Cheeseball game(janice Gunn's)

Choose to Heel
pivots
Get In (left)
Finish right
Swing left
Lateral movement

Teach something thoroughly, use it often, proof it well, and then expect the dog to know it. In the "teaching " phase, you can use a clicker to capture, you can use food to lure, you can shape a behavior by helping the dog physically. Incorporate lots of attention games like "Find it", hand targeting/touch, Choose To Heel, and Watch Me.
 

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Kye & Coops Mom
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For a beginner, what type of center for this do I look for? Do we continue regular obedience classes and for how long, then what is the next step..do I start looking into agility centers? Sorry to ask this from such advanced people, but the place I take my dogs to regular classes only offer this. Would like to work my way up towards a goal for us and be able to keep moving forwards. Private trainers I have contacted are way out of my budget. What would you consider a starting plan for we beginners?
 
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