Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Training Tip: Beginner Novice Week 4

Fun Match Time!

I took Monday to a Fun Match this past weekend to further prepare her for the upcoming Obedience Trial. A Fun Match is an informal dog event where you practice your obedience class exercises but pretend it's a show environment. So you sign up for whichever class you are getting to show in (Beginner Novice for us!) and wait for your turn in the ring. When in the ring, a 'judge' walks you through the exercises like it would happen in trial but it's much more laid back and you are allowed to train in the ring.

Monday waiting her turn and giving me excellent focus (for cookies!).

My goal with Monday was to see how we handled the extra distraction with the other dogs and for me to practice to being relaxed, LOL! She did much better than I expected but there also wasn't as many dogs as I thought there would be either :). I, of course, was just as nervous as I thought I would be (even though it's a fun match and doesn't mean anything I still can't help it). I must have performance anxiety. So while I was busy trying to be zen-like and take deep breaths, Monday was being her usual self and seemed to take most everything in stride.

I had to keep up a high rate of reinforcement while we were waiting for our turn in the ring, which isn't unusual. She has this horrible tendency to bark when she gets excited but luckily I kept her to just three quick (they were very quick!) barking episodes. She was even able to let me go into the ring for the debriefing while a friend held her (and gave her treats, she can be bough don't forget that!).

Once in the ring, our heeling was ok - she has a tendency to forge and that seemed to be exaggerated in the ring because of all the distractions. She didn't sit on the front for the recall - first time that had ever happened! And the stay...well it was more like what stay? :) I left her and started walking around the ring and she stayed until I got behind her but then she stood up. This is going to be our Achilles heel and obviously I'm not going to have it 'fixed' by Saturday. Plus this weekend there will be three times the amount of distractions. Oy!

Monday on the way home. She was a bit tired :).

Wish us luck! This will be quite the experience :).

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