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!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obedience at "Harley's" House

Tonight we were invited out to a training friend's place to work on some obedience work in a new location. It's important to proof your skills in many different locations so that the dogs learn to deal with different distractions and also learn that "sit" means "sit" in more places than just the living room! I've heard it so many times, people will be disappointed with their dog's performance at a trial, but when asked how they train they will say that they train at home and the dog always does it perfectly. Well of course, everyone sings best in their own shower, right? So we make a point to training in as many different spots as we can.

I didn't bring the camera out until it was beginning to get dark, so the pictures are not all that visible. Harley is a very handsome long haired German Shepherd Dog, the poor lighting doesn't do him justice at all. He and his owners and a couple of doggie siblings live just outside of town on a large plot of land. Lots of room for all sorts of doggy fun!

Tonight's goal was to start the intense process of preparing for CARO Rally-O Versatility level. Romeo has one leg of Excellent, and needs two more to finish off his Excellent title. Gio has yet to earn an Excellent leg, but is trained up to Excellent so it is just a matter of waiting for a trial to come up (the next CARO trial in this area isn't until November). Versatility is a whole new bag of tricks. The dogs are expected to work on the right side of the handler, as opposed to the left side. All of the stations are the same as in Novice level, but performed in right heel position. Then add in about 6 different ways of transitioning from left to right. I want their final performance to be very smooth, so I'm taking a bit of extra time to really polish their fluency on the right hand side. Starting very slowly and basically re-training everything on the right as I did on the left. Tonight was just introducing them to the right side and working on a "switch", the command I will be using for "get into right heel position". Both boys did very well. Romeo is somewhat more smooth on the right side than Gio is. But Gio is a couple years older than Romeo and well patterned to the left already. Romeo is new enough to all of this that he isn't stuck in his ways.

After "work" time, there were a couple of minutes for the pups to play as the owners chatted and gossiped. A fellow trainer brought a couple of her Cairn Terriers out to play. Spice, the dark colored one, and Gem, the blonde. Romeo took quite the
shining to Gem and tried his best to get her to play with him. A couple of zoomies ensued, but Gem was more interested in snuffling around in the grass for any small rodents that might be brave enough to lurk near by.

On the dark drive home a very creepy moon was revealed. The clouds were just right and the orange lights from the city line below lit them up in a fantastically eerie sort of way.

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