Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bits and Pieces

When I train my dogs (and others) I try to make sure that I am splitting things up into little bits during the learning process. Making sure that the dog understands what I am asking of them before I start putting things together. I have been careful about this especially with Pixel- who can get overwhelmed if she is not sure of what to do.

Why then does my dog not really understand Front? I should clarify- why doesn't she know front coming from the left, or from across the room, or with a dumbbell in her mouth. I went back and looked at my training logs and really am not seeing where I have missed a step.

But it is obvious that it is me as Wicca has similar problems with her front. Crooked, too far away, sometimes not even bothering. It is frustrating for me, and I am sure it is frustrating for the dog to not understand what I am asking of her. Sure if I ask her again, or again, or maybe even once more she will eventually get it. But I want it right the first time...

Last night we did fronts around the clock- the handler stands in the center and the dog is put in a stay in various "clock" positions and is called to front. Pixel did very well coming from the center, or from the right. The left was a whole different thing as she did not make an effort to swing her butt over to be straight.

At home we've been using the perch to work on fronts. Theoretically this should be teaching her to stay in the center wherever I move to. We just started this however, but I can see that it has helped already just from the exercise we did last night. A few weeks ago she wouldn't have done that. So I am excited about the bit of progress but still wonder if there is something else I could be doing.

I see all these fantastic obedience dogs with these killer fronts- I want that. Sometimes it is frustrating living in this city where there is such a small group of Obedience enthusiasts. We have no one really to help us except each other, so we are pretty limited sometimes.


Judy said...

I think as long as we keep doing everything in baby steps with lots of repetition and rewards (for work done correctly) so the dogs don't get bored, that it will all come together. There is so much to learn when it is broken down!

Blazingstar said...

ha ha! I had exactly the same problem as you last night - lovely fronts when they came in from my right, horrible when they came in from my left (and by horrible I mean really horrible - sometimes a full 90 degrees out of position!!).

So I spent the drive home thinking about how to solve that problem and why it exists in the first place. I have some ideas..... and I will add that to next week's agenda :-) With Cava, I know that I need to do more chute work with her, but while that is useful and will help, I don't think it will solve the problem that we were all having last night. I saw you doing the pedestal work in front with Pixel - do you do it in both directions, or just the one direction (anti-clockwise)?

I think we tend to spend a lot of time traing the dog to move their butt towards their right (because we are much more likely to need a dog to get it's butt "IN" than "OUT" when heeling and for finishes etc). But we do not do such a thorough job of teaching them to "get out" or move their butts to their left. So I am wondering if that explains why most dogs did very nice fronts when they came in from our right, but were terrible when they came in from our left?

You also have the difficult problem of having short dogs... I do think that makes it much harder. The taller the dog, the easier to get fabulous fronts, I think (i.e. Tinbie has the best fronts of all my dogs!).

Crystal said...

Sounds like it might be a good idea to go to a training seminar by a great trainer, to get another perspective about your dogs from someone who doesn't know them or you.

manymuddypaws said...

good thinking Liz! I will make sure that I am working both sides evenly and see what kind of improvement I get.