These are the chronicles of two Shetland Sheepdogs and their adventures in rally-o, obedience, flyball, agility, tracking and therapy dog work.
Also including information on raw feeding, canine epilepsy, positive training, and lots and lots of Sheltie hair!

Friday, August 22, 2008


Today was our last opportunity for a drop-in practice before the big trial next weekend. I still have all next week to polish things up a bit, but I don't like to do too much training right before a trial. I took both boys over to Paws 'n Train again and ran through the bits and pieces that they needed to work on for Novice Obedience (for Gio) and Novice CKC Rally-O (Gio and Romeo).

A training friend of mine was there and she put Gio and I through our paces (Thanks Heather!). Gio did wonderfully, and if he does anything like that next weekend, we should be golden! The big issue that we have been working on is the call front. A couple of weeks back, Gio decided that when I called him front, he should lay down in front of me instead of sit. I have no idea where he got that idea from, but it was pretty firmly implanted in his head. So with some repetition and the help of some stinky garlic salami, I think we have it re-affirmed that he should sit, and not down! Everything he did tonight was beautiful, I really have high hopes for next weekend.

Romeo was his normal enthusiastic self. We did a lot of heeling drills tonight. I'm hoping that that will help with his lagging issue. He tends to get nervous in the ring (could be a reflection of me, even though I try to not let it get to me and honestly don't feel that nervous myself). And when he is nervous, he lags. It's never been bad enough that we NQ, but I know how nicely he can heel so I would like to be able to show that off in the ring. An exercise that I found has really helped with that is one that a different training friend of mine showed me years ago (Thanks Ferne!). While in an off-leash heel, whenever Romeo is nice and close and making eye-contact, I click and toss a treat out to the side. I keep walking and as soon as Romeo catches back up to me and makes eye-contact, I click and toss another treat. So he is doing a lot of running away from me and back again as I keep up a random heel pattern around the room. This really seems to work in reminding him that if he ever ends up out of heel position, he should run to catch back up again so that he can make eye-contact. We will keep playing with this over the next week and hopefully it will transfer over to the ring. Though this time Romeo is only in Rally-O (he got his CD this spring and is not ready for Open obedience yet) so I have a bit more leeway in encouraging him to keep up.

I wasn't able to take any pictures this time around, so I will just share some Rally-O pictures from past trials. These are from a CKC rally fun match held in North Battleford, summer of 2007. Nice heeling, boys!

(Wow, I never realized how much coat Romeo has grown in the past year! He looks so scrawny there!)


Cynthia Blue said...

nice pictures! That sounds like a great heeling trick. My obedience instructor likes it when our dogs can find heel, too. So they really know where and what heel is. We haven't tried that, but it sounds like it'd work! And I so love the clicker! Good luck at the trial, I hope to see a video or two! ;)

Marie said...

Hi there! I just found your blog through my friends Cynthia and Tatum. I have 4 Shelties that do obedience and agility with me. I really like your idea to eliminate lagging in heelwork. My Raven has a tendency to lag sometimes too, especially if she's stressed at all. I'll have to give this a try. Have a great time at the obedience trial and I'll definitely check back to see how your boys do! :-)

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