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I started teaching an open/utility class this month and we've met a bit sporadically due to students missing for agility trials (and next weekend an obedience trial).

Yesterday we started with a warm-up, which allowed everyone to do some heeling, drops on recall, retrieves and a bit of jumping. Then we did a circle recall, where we form a big circle (everyone facing in) and then one by one we go across the circle and call our dogs. Those who are doing the drop can drop their dogs in the circle. After that we did a heel/stay exercise where the dogs are spread out around the room on a sit-stay. Handlers can be next to them (if they think they need to be) or be across the room from them. And then one by one we each heel our dogs in a serpentine around all the dogs that are on stays. It's a great exercise to help proof the staying dogs to dogs getting near them, and to help the heeling dogs have new distractions every few feet. It was very effective.

The we had individual run-throughs, with each person getting to run their dog through, call a pattern, and judge twice (calling the exercises and judging are all valuable learning experiences). I have Khana, my 3 year old chow, in this class and she's really doing well. Her heeling is enthusiastic although a bit forged at times. We do need to work on the figure 8 more. Her drop on recall was beautiful. The retrieve on the flat was very good, although she did kind of pounce on the dumbbell .. *L* .. I actually like her attitude so I'm not going to worry about losing a point for that. I want her to stay happy about retrieving. The retrieve over the high jump started off well, but she tried to come around the jump on the way back. I haven't done any proofing of that yet so that's on my list of things to work on. With Trick, I had her so proofed that I could throw the dumbbell completely to one side, have her jump and then go to the side to pick it up, and have to actually swing back around the jump in order to make it over for the recall part. Khana needs to start learning that too. Khana also did the broad jump but that needs proofing too since we've really done very little with it.

AND she held her three minute sit-stay with me out of sight - first time I've stayed out of sight the entire time! I was so proud of her, I didn't make her stay for the down-stay part. Didn't want to jinx her great performance!

The way things are going, I'm likely to end up with another CDX chow maybe even this summer! She's got the ability, it's just keeping her focused long enough to earn the legs. And then on to Utility! I'm sure having fun with this girl. She's a great dog in all ways possible.

The shepherd pup - Tazer - is eight months old and has the basics in her is all. I'm not sure I'm going to trial her so I'm holding back in deciding what to do. She's retrieving nicely and listens off-leash very well. I'm thinking service dog with her instead of competition dog. She can learn to bring me things, turn off lights, fetch the phone when it rings, carry a backpack, etc.

So where is everyone else in training these days?

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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Sounds like a great class! I sure wish I had more students interested in competition. Thankfully I think things are starting to turn and I have one lady with a labradoodle, one with a great dane and meeting a lady on Wednesday to talk about training (can fill you in later on her lol). For now my students are just the pet basics: sit, down, come, heel/walk loose lead, stay, etc. I have a couple of boxer puppies in class though that I wish I could convince to go on to competition! The owners have been graet with them and the attention from these boys (littermates! yikes!) is outstanding! The little brindle won't take eyes off of dad


As for my own dogs, I am at a point that most of my crew are new. My UD dog passed away in September. Axel is finally getting his due and I plan on finishing his CD this spring. He has one leg. I think he'll finish easily enough. In April I will do his BH and hopefully in fall or next spring, go for his SchH 1. This fall I think we'll go for our CDX. His heeling is nice, not as drivey as I'd like, but he is 7 years old now lol. He has all the basics and now it is just a few more classes (haven't been to a class with him as a student in over two years! Darn life and motherhood sometimes gets in the way lol). Nothing is up to my previous standards of a 195-200 score, but he'll do ok with high 180s to mid 190's I think.

Malfoy is just a great pet for DH. Jinx is still learning the basics. His heeling is coming along nicely but those little dog straight sits ... yikes lol. Still working on him. Overall he is doing well. He has a problem with stays and we haven't done too many. He'll stay a full minute on sits and downs, but the little dog keeps popping up on the return, even though I have never stepped on him. So I am going back to just teaching him I can move around him and he can remain in the stay even if I am close. He is so sensitive though! Baby steps though


Moxie arrived Sunday so I have started tug with her. I worked on her learning to take treats from my hand today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) I will start introduction of the clicker. I have high plans for her! Just waiting for a good puppy class to start and then I'll be taking her to those. Boy they are hard to find in the boonies lol Contemplating offering a PK class just so I can take her lol Problem is, when I teach the class, I am too distracted with the other puppies to focus on my own, tried it in the past..


So fun fun! Trying to get ready for this spring and fall
 

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Sounds like a fun class, Melanie.

We have a great group here, we don't do anything as a group.
Sits and downs are done on the outside while its someone else's turn to do a run-through.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Achielles - I know what you mean about being distracted while teaching a class - I tend to let my own dogs' training slide because I teach more than I practice! But in this class, I specified when I advertised it that I WOULD be working my own girl too, and that all members of the class would be required to call patterns and act as judges at times. Those are both really good learning experiences for anyone trialing in obedience so I didn't feel at all bad in insisting on that. It gives us all an opportunity to work our dogs, too, and still get the one-on-one time in.

It's a long class - with just six dogs in the class it can still take close to two hours to get through everyone. But we really enjoy it. Last class I had an additional dog show up so we had the three golden retrievers, my chow, an Aussie, a border collie and a great Dane! What a crew.

Brian - we do some of the sits and downs like that, but we also do them in a group so as to simulate a competition situation. We walk in and line up like they would in class, I give the "sit your dog, leave your dog" instructions and we all walk across and leave like we really would. Someone is always in the room with the dogs, of course, and most of us have given permission for the "judge" to put the dogs back into position if they break. I've found that it helps the dogs learn that breaking the stay when their owners aren't there won't cause the owner to return, but you really do have to trust the person you're allowing to "re-set" your dog. We don't tend to do much in the way of harsh training so everyone is pretty comfortable with the concept.

We do have one person who has a utility dog who doesn't tend to do the stays and she works her dog on scent articles and signals, etc. while our dogs are in a stay. That offers more distractions too while still maintaining the "group" atmosphere.

I really enjoy this group and we have a great time!

Melanie and the gang
 
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