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post #1 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Training the routine

I was browsing through threads and came across a post which opines: "if you are practicing the routine before trialing, that is deadly for attitude [of the dog]. If you feel you need to run through the routine for your learning, do it without the dog."

This leads me to ask the question: If you are not practicing the routine then what are you practicing? In other words, what are you doing with the dog to get him ready for trial if you are not training within the routine that you will be doing at the trial?


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post #2 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 11:48 PM
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I'm building his attention span, his desire to work, his enthusiasm. I'm doing OB exercises that builds muscle memory so that the movements come to him naturally and effortlessly. I throw in lots of unexpected NON-routine moves to see if he is really paying attention, or just memorizing steps (I swear he can count, LOL). I test him with various distractors around him as what could happen in a trial. What if it starts raining and a member runs on the field with an umbrella for the judge, for example?

Training for a routine also gets the dog to anticipate the next move. So I'm training for my dog to wait for a command, not knowing which command comes next.

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post #3 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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So Lucia, I am trying to imagine what your obedience training would look like. So you step on the field, then what?


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post #4 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 12:22 AM
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Stark and I are working on getting ready for his BH and I was just going through the pattern with Stark (and without) on a regular basis. He became bored and would loose interest/focus in me.

So now...

We go out to the field, do a few steps (nice and engaged) and then break! I do one of two things;

a.) put him in his crate

b.) play with him on the field

c.) do some sort of "fun" obedience with him

Now when I put him in the crate and totally ignore him he seems to work better when I bring him out again. He CRAVES the attention and his focus is great for a longer period of time.

When we play on the field, I run around, push him, let him jump on me, chase him, play tug with him, and do all sorts of silly things with him. Then depending on how engaged he is, we will either continue working a few more steps or I will put him away.

Stark really enjoys the 'active' obedience such as jumps, flip finishes, the A-frame, platz in motion, etc... so we will do that. I will automatically start running and then drop him. He gets so excited when I change things up a bit.

For the past couple of weeks, we haven't gone through the pattern at all. I have been working about 10-15 steps at the most right now to really get that focus that I am looking for. For now, it seems to be working so we are sticking with it!

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post #5 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Elisabeth,

So what will happen when you show for the BH and you take your first 15 steps (nice and focused) then no ball comes? What will the next 265+ steps of heeling look like?


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post #6 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 12:32 AM
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Obviously we will continue working up from where we are, adding more steps as his focus improves.

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post #7 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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And what is your rate of progress so far? What I mean is if you heel 15 steps perfect today how many perfect steps do you expect tomorrow?


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post #8 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 12:47 AM
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Depends on the day. And if I had a "typical" training routine, then I'd be training a pattern, wouldn't I?

Sometimes I bring him out into the middle of the field and platz him and leave him there for half an hour while I step off the field to talk to others or help someone out with some spotting, while everyone else just works around him. Sometimes I'll stand there with my back to him for 10 15 minutes so he gets used to it. Sometimes I do a long down after we have worked on other stuff. Sometimes we don't do any downs at all.

Sometimes I start heeling down the field moving in a stiff manner and breating in shallow breaths with my head held high as if I was in trial and shaking with nervousness. I don't do more than one or two sits and downs in motion in a session, sometimes I break him right away, sometimes I take a few steps and break him. Sometimes I move back to him and we take up heeling again. Sometimes I'll do my 20-30 steps or more and either do a recall, or not.

Sometimes I start by working him up into a drive frenzy by playing tug with him first but not quite letting him catch it. Sometimes it is out of the car and onto the field in a heel and not break for a while as I expect him to work in drive with or without me waving the tug around for him to try and catch. But all the previous tug sessions incorporated into the heeling helps him bring his drive through by association, tug or no tug in sight.

Sometimes I go on the field and we start with jumps and retrieves. Or recalls. Or I go on the field and pretend I'm reporting to the judge. And walk off and do a long down. Or report to the judge, and go off and heel backwards a bit or do spirals, just because.

Or, lets see, sometimes we just play with the dumbell to build drive. Sometimes I got through the formal retrieve exercises to test his ability to cap his drive and wait for the command (needs work ). Sometimes I throw the dumbell, and run away as he brings it back to me. I like to keep him guessing.

The one thing that is pretty routine is the send-out though. Usually towards the end of my on-field time. What I don't want is him to think that we are doing a send out as we would start our heeling routine in trial - and when we do the send out, I have practiced it from different start positions, with the send-out post in different places than the routine (going the other way down the field, at an angle in the corner, off the field even), and of course vary the buildup to the send out. Might throw in some other turns and stops and backsteps or sidesteps before lining myself up with the send-out post and sending him.

So far, I've only done a couple of BH's and on OB1, so not much experience to go on, but what I have done is maybe go through the complete routine with my dog two or three times total one or two weeks before trial. I agree that pattern training can get boring for the dog and is counter-productive, but I'm sure that every dog is different and needs a bit of a different approach.

Of course, you can argue that since I've been able to itemize my training approach, I DO have a pattern, since I just listed a bunch of stuff I would "usually" do - but it is a different pattern every time from what the trial routine is, so in that sense, it is not trial-pattern training, just MY pattern for having fun, building focus and extending the attention span, and keeping the dog's interest.

Lucia


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Last edited by Castlemaid; 08-27-2011 at 12:51 AM.
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post #9 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Now Lucia this is very interesting to me! When I train I always, always, always do the routine, or a close derivative thereof. For me the closer the training replicates a trial the better.


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post #10 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 05:35 AM
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I think I wrote that. Learned it from people who train for years of frequent competition. I am not really sure how often ScH dogs take the field? I have seen a few with multiple SchH 3s.

Anyway, when doing training, we work on each part of the routine seperately. Perhaps a couple of parts, but not all of it. The dog does not need the routine. The new handler may need it though.

Dogs can go in and do the routine without having put the entire thing together prior to the competition. The key here is that you can spend training sessions building drive into exercises. You can reward effort during multiple parts of the exercise. When one works on building the desire and power into an exercise, why dilute it with doing everything?

This approach is utilized by people who will compete year after year, month after month, weekend after weekend.

Why would the dog need to practice the routine? I can"t think think of a reason. The dog only needs to have drive and desire in each exercise....heeling, retrieve, jump, etc.

The heeling should not diminish after a few steps of heeling without a ball presented if the training has been done well. It is habit and becomes a behavior that is rewarding in itself with good training.

Last edited by Samba; 08-27-2011 at 05:37 AM.
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