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I have been training Simba for obedience for over 8 months now and I just don't think it is for us. After a disastrous show today I am wondering whether we should continue or not He does so well at home and so well at class but once we get to shows it is all gone out the window. He pulls on the lead during heal work to try and get to other dogs he see's in the distance. He leaves the ring during recall every time. He won't stay for even 1 second on sit or down stays. After the first show I decided we just weren't ready and we waited 4 months before entering another but they have all got progressively worse as we go on. Then I thought maybe if we enter a lot of shows he will get more experience which might help. I practice stays and waits anywhere I can so he can do the in any situation but I just don't think I should bother anymore. I even had to ask a lady if she would mind moving away from the ring at a show before we entered because Simba was crying and tugging towards her dog as he wanted to hump her.

The thing that frustrates me the most is that he does so well at class, at home and anywhere else I decide to work with him but once we get to shows he is like a different dog. And because he improves week after week at class I am thinking maybe he is just not happy at show and maybe that is his way of telling me he has had enough. I get frustrated and I don't want to be frustrated or angry at him when I know it isn't his fault but it is hard not to after all of the time and money I have out into it.

Maybe we should just stick to long walks and hikes and agility for fun. He is getting neutered on Monday so I can use the week while he is recovering to think about it!
 

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It could also be that you are stressed and he senses it. It could also be that you need to get some friends together and do some practice in different settings. When you do it at home or in class it is all controlled settings. So when you go to the show it is something different and because 4 months apart isn't real regular he doesn't become accustomed to it. But in the end the main thing is it should be fun. and if it isn't fun for you then it isn't going to be fun for him. There are so many things out there to do with your dog. Keep it fun.
 

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I think they know they can get away with murder in the ring as you cannot correct or work with them like you should.
 

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Competition is not for anyone if you are not enjoying it. You can still do what you are doing with or without formal competition. No reason to compete if you don't enjoy it. If you do enjoy it, then the results and placement does not really matter. Because at the end of the day, you are having fun, and engaging in something social. People want to inherently get results in what it is they do. Sure you could change it up to maybe something more suited to your dog to get results. But at the end of the day, a lot of it is meaningless. How well is good enough? And what is really a fail? I dont think there is such thing. Just enjoy it. Maybe see it as a challenge. But no reason to question your effort. You work towards something. The fun is in the journey, not the destination.
 

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Competition is not for anyone if you are not enjoying it. You can still do what you are doing with or without formal competition. No reason to compete if you don't enjoy it. If you do enjoy it, then the results and placement does not really matter. Because at the end of the day, you are having fun, and engaging in something social. People want to inherently get results in what it is they do. Sure you could change it up to maybe something more suited to your dog to get results. But at the end of the day, a lot of it is meaningless. How well is good enough? And what is really a fail? I dont think there is such thing. Just enjoy it. Maybe see it as a challenge. But no reason to question your effort. You work towards something. The fun is in the journey, not the destination.
This. :thumbup:
 

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ONE, just one, disasterous show & you're hanging it up???? Eh, get a grip! I think I experienced every way possible (with the exception of being excused type of behavior) to blow Novice A. It took us a couple of years to finally get our CD and I have some very funny stories from that. If the dog's good at home, if the dog's good at training and the only screw up venue is the trial -- it's the handler not the dog. (I know that story sooo very well.)
 

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How often have you been able to proof him in a ring environment? Is there a club near you that has "fun matches" where you can practice with realistic distractions?

There are entire classes for handlers on how to handle performance and the mental game of competition. Don't beat yourself up for not being great at everything right off the bat.

I like to over-train for shows. That way the real thing seems easier. For down stays, I had a trainer help me and we proofed her with the trainer's dog running right in front of her, stepping on her tail, doing all sorts of crazy stuff. Probably overkill but it was an issue we really needed to work on.
 

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How often have you been able to proof him in a ring environment? Is there a club near you that has "fun matches" where you can practice with realistic distractions?

There are entire classes for handlers on how to handle performance and the mental game of competition. Don't beat yourself up for not being great at everything right off the bat.

I like to over-train for shows. That way the real thing seems easier. For down stays, I had a trainer help me and we proofed her with the trainer's dog running right in front of her, stepping on her tail, doing all sorts of crazy stuff. Probably overkill but it was an issue we really needed to work on.
I agree with this--you must work him in different environments, and work with distractions.

Susan
 

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Wait...Stop....I've been where you are. The issue was not the venue. It was not the dog. It was my relationship with the dog. I would start playing games with him, in public, that engaged him and put the focus back on me. It' more than just proofing an exercise. You need to have the dog's head with you before he can be in the game.
 

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The other thing is that dogs (and humans) don't generalize well. Obedience at home is a different thing than obedience in competition until you TRAIN him to understand that they are the same thing. Hence the idea of proofing. This is just a variation on when you see someone that you kind of know in a brand new environment sometimes it is hard to remember who they are. Same thing. Go to the next match just to observe and train rather than compete. BUT you have to have fun. If your pup picks up your emotions he may just shut down.

Good luck.
 

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a good fit might be starting off with Rally. The novice class is on-leash, you're expected to talk to and encourage your dog all the way through the course.
It can make a good transition from "home" to the atmosphere of a show.
 

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You might also try Rally obedience for a while. It is fun for the dog and you and he is never away from you so must listen to you for commands. After he gets used to being at shows and in the ring switch back to the other obedience side. I always thought Rally is a good way to get them used to being at shows. The first show I attended with Raina was so bad I think my score should have been less than zero. I was nervous, she wouldn't pay attention and acted like she had never heard of any of the commands I gave. But we survived that show and moved on to a Rally Novice title 5 months later at the next show we went to with a lot more experience and knowledge. Don't give up. :headbang:
 

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I agree with giving Rally a try, good way to get started in a show environment.

Training at home or class is pretty much the same smells, people, and dogs. Shows will bring in new smells and different distractions, fun matches are a good idea to help with this. As others have said, we are our own problem as handlers sometimes so beware of that.
 

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One other tip, before going into the ring, eat a mint. Your dog will not be able to smell the nervousness or anxiety from you. A lot of Rally shows I've been to have a bag of mints next to the gate before you go into the ring.
 

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I have to agree with the others. I don't compete in OB, I race one of my dogs in flyball. She was doing fantastic in class and the club invited us to practice with them. A couple of months later they thought she was ready for her first tournament. She was only going to do 5 heats each day, (typically there are 6 races of 4 heats each, 5 races of 5 heats each, or 8 races of 3 heats each) and even that depended on how she would do in the brief warmup period before each of her scheduled races.

Well, the environment was SO much different and more stimulating than she was used to that although she'd been doing full runs for months by then she acted like she had no idea what a flyball course was or why she was there. It was frustrating at first, but I decided that if she could successfully complete ONE heat the entire weekend I'd be happy. And she did two heats the first day, and five the second day!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
a good fit might be starting off with Rally. The novice class is on-leash, you're expected to talk to and encourage your dog all the way through the course.
It can make a good transition from "home" to the atmosphere of a show.
I really wish we could give rally a try but there is no rally at all in the country I live in :( There is no flyball either and I would love to give that a try also. Maybe in the future who knows!
 

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What country do you live in?
 

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I think it would be worth your while to look into the FDSA. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - About us It's an online dog training school (nest session starts June 1st, and registration opened yesterday), and this class Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - OB170: Bridging the Gap - Reducing Reinforcers, Proofing and Generalization sounds like it would probably help. This one Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - FE190: It's All In Your Head -- Developing Your Mental Game for Competition and Training would probably help as well.

If he's a young dog, he could simply be too overwhelmed by the bustle and excitement of the show grounds to think. My Leo went into the ring for the first time at around 15 months, and acted like she'd never had a lick of training in her life. She's now 3 years old, and STILL not ready to go back in the ring.
 

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The thing that frustrates me the most is that he does so well at class, at home and anywhere else I decide to work with him but once we get to shows he is like a different dog. And because he improves week after week at class I am thinking maybe he is just not happy at show and maybe that is his way of telling me he has had enough. I get frustrated and I don't want to be frustrated or angry at him when I know it isn't his fault but it is hard not to after all of the time and money I have out into it.
I think it sounds like he is distracted at shows, because he has not trained there, which causes you to be stressed (not that you weren't already lol), which causes him to be more distracted and the cycle continues.
Go to shows, not entered, and play and train. Have fun. Do your routines, praise and play! Teach him that it is just like class. Once he settles into it and is doing well, try entering again.
I went through something similar with my big boy, who is my first competition obedience dog. He got his rally novice title at an indoor show and did amazingly. We entered an outdoor obedience trial two months later and it was embarrassing. I had him entered in CD four times and rally advanced three times over the weekend. We got one very pathetic rally Q and totally blowed the rest. It was so hot, so distracting, so not fun because I couldn't talk to him in the obedience. I lost a LOT of money that weekend and learned some good lessons.
All that being said though, we took a break, did agility for fun, did lots of training and he has his first leg of his CD and we hope to finish the rest this summer. And he almost has his rally excellent title. The last show we took first place up against a good group of dogs :D
If you want to do it, you can do it! And if you really think it is not for you, then don't do it. There's nothing wrong with that. The biggest help I can give is not to stress about it either way.
 
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