Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fixing a Front

       I had heard about a run through for the up coming show and took the opportunity. I now have moved up to Novice from Beginner Novice and will need to refine my skills even better. The practice is ON!

      In my second qualifying score, Mickey did an awesome front. One that just makes you cry. Maybe this emotion was too strong? The next day for qualifying score #3, during the recall he ran up, and went right past me. I thought he did this because I stared forward and didn't pay attention to him. But today, when I did the recall, he did it again, ran right past me while I was looking at him! WHAT? Wait a minute? Ok, we have a problem here. I realized that doing obedience is a journey. That you can practice something over and over, have it perfectly great for one show, then have if fall apart the next. What happened? I could spend hours to analyze it, but in the mean time, I need to practice. I did one more recall at this field and he passed me again.

        On the way home Mickey and I stopped by a restaurant and went grocery shopping. I could tell he was tired from the  practice. He was a tired hearing dog.

       When I finally got to my house, I got Mickey out and put him at one end of my yard, and I walked to the other. Yep, t hat's about the right distance. I called him. He went right past me! Whoa! Ok, we got something weird going on here. Again, I could spend all day analyzing this, but I'm going to train right now instead. I set him up, show him his Wubba, and left it right in the front of me, called him and he came straight on, dropped it in his mouth. YES! Ok, we are back on track and this won't be a long fix. I did it again, but I put the Wubba in my back, my hands to the side. I called and he stopped  4 feet from me. Hmmmmm, I thought, this is interesting. I put him back, called him and I had to coax him just a little. Set him up again, called him, perfect, pulled the Wubba from my back and gave it to him to play. Whew YES! Ok we are back on track with training.

        Life isn't over, he responded to a little bit of training and here we go. I found this all amazing since I practice fronts all the time. I do it in the kitchen, do it in practice, it isn't like we only did a handful of recalls. We have done a lot. Did something happen at that show? My emotions? Who knows and I could analyze this over and over, but the truth of the matter is, I have to change the behavior. Got busy with shaping back his correct behavior and we are back in business again.

        For anyone that says obedience competition is easy and they could title their dog, but don't want to show is just a bunch of talk and no action. Obedience is hard work and practice for both dog and human. It does humble you.

        A quote I have liked, "Life is a journey, not a destination" ---Ralph Waldo Emerson

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