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I have 2 in Open currently! I know.....I'm crazy! LOL They are my first dogs to show at this level too. Winx isn't real consistent so I may be showing her longer. She has 2 CDX legs, which is pretty exciting when a couple of years ago I wasn't sure we'd ever get a CD! Pilot is a very consistent guy. Usually if we don't qualify, it's my fault. He has 1 leg. I showed him just to see where we were at and he did very well. Everyone tells me that he has tons of potential. I've got to clean up a few things, which we're working on. We've lost a beautiful heel. I'm working on getting it back. I'm hoping to learn a lot from the Matthew Twitty seminar I signed up for. Maybe it's just a young dog thing I need to work out?



I need to come up with a plan for teaching Utility. I've been working on a few things. Anyone have any tips for training at this level? I do have friends that are teaching me some things.
 

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Maegan
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So jealous you are getting to go to the Matthew Twitty seminar! He will help you "heal your heel" for sure.

I am wondering how to train for Utility as well someday, so I hope you get some good answers!
 

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I had the same problem, focusing on other things and my heel went out the window. I was so disappointed the last couple of times we were in the Open ring. He was so good. Back to working on heeling again, hope I don’t lose something else. We have most of utility down pretty well. But that darn heeling, he used to be beautiful. I actually have the little bugger back on a leash and a treat in his face. How embarrassing. I actually picked him up and left the ring before we even made the first turn. I didn’t want him to think he could be that bad and get away with it. We have so very few trials in Alaska, it’s a long wait for the next...

Good for you to do the Twitty seminar. I’ve done a couple of Connie Cleveland seminars and really liked them. Will you be a working team?
 

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the party's crashing us
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Heeling is the hardest thing in obedience (GOOD HEELING) and it needs constant upkeep.
I like to do a heeling only session each day -- it might only be three minutes. I will pick something to work on during that session, say, about turns, or left turns, or halts, and make sure not only do you get a correction in but that the dog improves and does it correctly in that session. Having said that, keep the session short. When I teach heeling I practice every day but here's what I do. I use food initially to teach heel position. I will form a meatball-sized piece of food in my hand, and break off tiny bites as the reward during the session. As soon as the meatball is used up, we're done. So sessions are always 2-7 minutes, that's it. You can go work on the other exercises separately. Don't EVER ask your dog to heel if both you and him can't give 100%.
 

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I had the same problem, focusing on other things and my heel went out the window. I was so disappointed the last couple of times we were in the Open ring. He was so good. Back to working on heeling again, hope I don’t lose something else. We have most of utility down pretty well. But that darn heeling, he used to be beautiful. I actually have the little bugger back on a leash and a treat in his face. How embarrassing. I actually picked him up and left the ring before we even made the first turn. I didn’t want him to think he could be that bad and get away with it. We have so very few trials in Alaska, it’s a long wait for the next...

Good for you to do the Twitty seminar. I’ve done a couple of Connie Cleveland seminars and really liked them. Will you be a working team?

No. I have an auditor spot. I've done a couple of Connie Cleveland seminars too.
 

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Heeling is the hardest thing in obedience (GOOD HEELING) and it needs constant upkeep.
I like to do a heeling only session each day -- it might only be three minutes. I will pick something to work on during that session, say, about turns, or left turns, or halts, and make sure not only do you get a correction in but that the dog improves and does it correctly in that session. Having said that, keep the session short. When I teach heeling I practice every day but here's what I do. I use food initially to teach heel position. I will form a meatball-sized piece of food in my hand, and break off tiny bites as the reward during the session. As soon as the meatball is used up, we're done. So sessions are always 2-7 minutes, that's it. You can go work on the other exercises separately. Don't EVER ask your dog to heel if both you and him can't give 100%.

I'll have to go back to the basics like this. I took him to an Open class in a very busy environment when he was still basically a puppy and his heel has never been the same. Mr Pilot Man will be getting that heel back. His scores are always in the 190's but I'm very picky with him.
 

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I had the same problem, focusing on other things and my heel went out the window. I was so disappointed the last couple of times we were in the Open ring. He was so good. Back to working on heeling again, hope I don’t lose something else. We have most of utility down pretty well. But that darn heeling, he used to be beautiful. I actually have the little bugger back on a leash and a treat in his face. How embarrassing. I actually picked him up and left the ring before we even made the first turn. I didn’t want him to think he could be that bad and get away with it. We have so very few trials in Alaska, it’s a long wait for the next...

Good for you to do the Twitty seminar. I’ve done a couple of Connie Cleveland seminars and really liked them. Will you be a working team?
. Anney Oakley's dogs can Heel. Heeling is a dance and flashy heeling Is because of relationship. Matt is a personal friend and I don't get to train with much and I train by myself. You and your dog a great relationship are all you need. I have shared this around before, it is a video of my GSP bitch recent open run. I am beyond anxious to get my Brassfire puppy

https://youtu.be/087qZxusbjc
 

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I have 2 in Open currently! I know.....I'm crazy! LOL They are my first dogs to show at this level too. Winx isn't real consistent so I may be showing her longer. She has 2 CDX legs, which is pretty exciting when a couple of years ago I wasn't sure we'd ever get a CD! Pilot is a very consistent guy. Usually if we don't qualify, it's my fault. He has 1 leg. I showed him just to see where we were at and he did very well. Everyone tells me that he has tons of potential. I've got to clean up a few things, which we're working on. We've lost a beautiful heel. I'm working on getting it back. I'm hoping to learn a lot from the Matthew Twitty seminar I signed up for. Maybe it's just a young dog thing I need to work out?



I need to come up with a plan for teaching Utility. I've been working on a few things. Anyone have any tips for training at this level? I do have friends that are teaching me some things.

Hey there. How have your obedience trials gone this summer and fall? I was curious about an update.
 

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Hey there. How have your obedience trials gone this summer and fall? I was curious about an update.
They both got their CDX on the same day in September! Pilot qualified and took 1st both days. Winx qualified on the second day and took 2nd. I found out that Pilot needs work with someone holding his dumbbell. He scored 192 and 193. He lost at least 5 points each day points because he wanted his dumbbell back. It’s not a normal thing around here for the judge to hold it the whole time. I have to be careful with his corrections so it will be a challenge.

I’ve been working on utility with Pilot. We have almost gotten gloves down. We’ve been working on go outs but the jumping part is getting really good. We both got completely frustrated on the scent articles so we put them away for a while. We are learning utility together and without being in a class. We have some cleaning up to do in open yet.

I made a deal with Winx. If she qualified she was done with obedience. She’s not a big fan. She does agility now and loves it. And I have the benefit of a very well behaved agility dog with the best start line stay out there. ?

We are taking a break from trials while we are learning utility.

Thank you for asking!
 

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Well, Utility is coming around pretty nicely! As I was working with him one night, someone said, "He's really starting to look like a Utility dog". I'm taking that as a complement! Found a method of teaching a go out that's working for him. He's wanting to run out on "mark" so I'm working on that. Just excitement I think. We are back into private lessons so that helps. We are going to just keep at until we get it.

I did go ahead and enter him in Open B in January......Our first time playing with the big kids!
 

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We are catching on to articles! Yay! I apparently worked on too much and confused him on other things today. How do you break it up so they understand each one? I’m going to only do a couple of things each session but do you only work one exercise or a couple?
 

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where the tails wag
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For articles, during the initial teaching stages I dedicate the training session to the stage I am currently training -- for example, they are taught to use their nose (on cue) by using a dark room to find an item, they are taught to pick up a 'dead article' in a separate session, the turn & send (and wait) in another session, whatever method I am using with that particular dog for the find & pickup in another session etc. These sessions may expand many training days or weeks and I might even have a few sessions a day, but since it is a time consuming and intensive set of sessions, they are limited in scope.

That said, they have warmups and exercises and/or playtime at the end of the sessions to release any stress they may feel.

Some examples of training methods that I mix n match (I feel it builds a complete understanding)
Clicker using shaping
Round the Clock
Tie down boards (not a great idea if you have a very strong retriever)
Search & find games where you use darkness, having to pull an article from over, under, from say a box
Tosses into a pile
Distractions are introduced at each stage -- this really helps. For examples with Brady; he successfully completed articles at a trial where a USAF formation flew over so low & long that the ground & buildings were shaking; video showed all other rings had halted to wait as it was long but Brady was sent as they started their flyover. Another trial (indoors), as he was heading to his pile a horrible man in the ring next door bellowed "DOWN" like the wrath of God from a few feet away (it was so bad the judge in his ring had to talk to him and the sectry also spoke with him) just as Brady was nearing the pile . Brady hit the floor and then did a mini-bolt as the judge & I were recovering; the judge allowed a redo and Brady earned his 1st UD leg after a very brief recompose. I now feel that his articles may always be sensitive to mishaps but he does his very best to soldier on with the tools he has learned by breaking things down as above.

Articles are funny -- you can really only guide the dog you are training in the actual scent discrimination -- you can never really know what they are smelling. But by breaking it down and trying to train everything from the step to pick up the article, to the wait, to the step back and focus while you are scenting, to the hand off and the judge walking away with theit article, to the judge cuing to the turn & send (I use direct to help release any tension they may be feeling and increase motivation), to the send and the discrimination and the pickup and the return & front, the take it, finish and turn around again etc. I train each one separately.

I personally choose a very lightly scented article and do not wash my articles, usually I wait several days before reusing them but sometimes in training do use them back to back so my dog learns to retrieve the freshest scent (of mine). I do lightly air them on the dining table. By lightly scented, I mean I usually hold the bit loosely and turn the article 2-3 times before handing it to the judge.

If you hot scent, try to train when you are nervous and/or hot and/or sweating at times. BTW: I never put food on my articles - I did this with my very 1st dog and then discovered he had to relearn what I wanted when the food went away so I just skip that step.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I did food on the article. He only worries about where the food is. Take it away and I'm back at the beginning.
We did hide and go seek with the PVC tubes. Food again so back to the beginning. Not to the extent you're talking about.
Tosses into a pile were probably the most useful with him.
When he was figuring it out and got it wrong, I just said "wrong" and resent him. Very happy response when correct.
I keep corrections light with this one. He's a softie.

It's been off and on for a while with him working it out. For whatever reason, it just clicked what I want from him last week. I started with using tongs to place the unscented ones out and only scenting one. He is up to six metal articles. I had my 8 year old granddaughter set them out for me. She touches them is very creative with her placement. She will do a normal pile or line them up. Last night, she spread them all over the kitchen (don't worry, it's a small kitchen) and he found the right one. He is starting on leather too. At first I thought he was just getting lucky, but he's sniffing and actually searching for the right one now. We need to get it on turf still. Lots of turf rings here. We are well on our way with articles.

For the other exercises, while they are still learning how do you separate them? I'm thinking about doing a signal session, or directed jumping session. Just working one exercise a session. Is this the way others do it? I completely confused him yesterday by working on too many things. Since I've never done Utility, I'm not teaching a puppy. He's 2 1/2 and technically my first CDX dog by 5 or 10 minutes. My biggest problem is that I can only get to my club once or twice a week and weather here isn't real good for outdoor training.
 

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where the tails wag
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I teach the different aspects separately but may combine elements from different exercises within the same session. In your example above, I might combine Go Outs with the Heeling to the Stand signal, then move to something he knows well and finds fun or a play session. Then perhaps just a jump followed by Stand to Down signals or glove #1 with only gloves 1 and 3 out if he is still relatively new.

While learning things, I do not mix and match similar exercises within a session (scent articles and retrieves for example), but once they have the general idea I start to intermix so that they learn the differences (and example would be the ROF and the ROHJ with angled throws, or gloves followed by Go Outs)
 

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Thank you! He does have some of it down pretty well. He goes to the correct glove with decent reliability. He loves the jumping part of the directed jumping exercise, we haven’t put it with the go out yet. Although I think he might do better with the go out if I did. Sometimes the work IS the reward. ? In this case it could be. He is balking after 2 or 3 go outs. Maybe if I let him jump when he does it correctly, it would be a motivator to try again. We’ve been working signals one piece at a time to prevent walking. I plan to start keeping a journal of what I did in each session. We’ve been lazy today after the weather keeping us up all night.

He has his CDX so we are trying to maintain and clean up there while learning new exercises.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Articles are his favorite now! I took him outside to work with him. every time I released him, he ran to the article bag. He got them right every time and we were outside. Now that I'm done being sick and got everyone on a schedule I'm working with him more.
 
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