Versailles turns a year in 7 days, and we weren't planning on trialing until November or December for our BH. A girl in my club did not pass the BH with her dog last weekend, so it looks like we're going to take a trip out to California at the end of June and shoot for our BH's then. I am very excited, but this leaves me with about 3 months instead of 8 that I thought I had, so I am a little nervous!
I am just curious as to what people would refocus on if they had the chance to. We have NOT done our long down at all... I was thinking about going to Petsmart, parks, and places completely quiet and practicing with and without extreme distraction. Does this seem like a good idea?
I am also a tad worried about the traffic test. Since I can put her in a sit/platz next to me when people/dogs come up, I am not worried about that. However, she can be pretty vocal so I need to start working on tying her to a fence and going inside and having a dog walk by. I have never put her in a situation like that (seriously, who ties their dog up and leaves them?) so I'm not even sure how to do that. I will definitely work on it with my training director, but I'd like to get as much advice as possible.
Proofing the sit/platz in motion.. she is very good at both of them but will still decide that she is going to do the opposite one when asked. I know I need to work on this a LOT, but besides just doing sit/platz/stand exercises do any of you have any tips on really imprinting the word into the dogs head no matter what?
I think that's all my major concerns. She drive is very nice and her heeling I'm not too worried about. I just want to do well if I'm driving out for a weekend to trial.. but I feel 3 months is certainly enough time to proof her. Just means the retrieve that we've been working on has to go on the back burner for a while I suppose.
We're doing our BH in mid april, so I feel your pain, so little time, so many things to tighten up. My advice for the tie-up is small steps. Start with 1 minute, then 2 building up slowly until she can handle at least 5. I put Maggie in a down stay (untied) at the entrance to the dog park and disappear out of site for at least 3 minutes, before returning. Also when I'm working in the front of the house, she is in a down stay but tied to a tree. Our street is quite busy so lots of human and dog traffic passing constantly. She is calm but interested in all that passes.
The sitz/platz decision, my girl used to platz sometimes when I would ask her to sit, she has figured it out now but basically don't reward the wrong choice and don't correct the choice, just take the dog back to the start and repeat the exercise. I also do multiple sit/platz in continuous order at home, sitz/platz/sitz/platz so she's hopping up and down like a kangaroo :-), usually no more than 4 in a row, but it's clear she knows which I mean. I also never reward a slow sit/platz, I completely ignore her if the sitz/platz is slow.
Don't drop the retrieve, keep working on it, I work maggie daily on dumbell retrieve over jump, voraus, platz from distance, butt swing into fuss, etc, mostly foundation stuff because the bh stuff can get a bit boring for them. You can be polishing one technique while laying the foundations for others.
I presume you are doing IPO/BH, so I'm sure you know that the sitz/platz has become much easier. It always starts with a sit, then pause then platz for the platz in "motion". You can always encourage the sit with a little backwards pressure on the collar, though be careful not to overuse as the dog will wait for the leash pressure as an indicator for the sit.
Regarding "who ties up their dog", I do it all the time. When I hop into the beer shop, or the bank or when I am laying a starter track. I'm never far away, though and I can usually keep a visual eye on her even though she may not see me.
For me, the heeling is the part I'm working on most. We walk/hike a lot so I've allowed her to heel very loosely (especially over uneven ground). She heels fine but just not close enough especially on the turns. I've been working on competition style heeling (I don't see the practicality of it, but it does look good and it is a challenge for me and maggie to overcome together) for the past week and have made good progress. She will look at me while heeling for shorthish distances (30 ft or so) in a line. I'm working on building distance.