Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another seminar! Nancy Reyes

Ziggy and I went to another seminar on Saturday. The title of the seminar was "building focus" - so how could I resist taking my distracted boy? And this one was at a nice training facility only an hour down the Mississippi...

The seminar was with Nancy Reyes - a trainer near Chicago who runs a training facility, trains a lot of folks in Rally & Obedience, and works a lot with rescue dogs. She's a strong believer in building a relationship with your dog, and giving the dog choices in training - allowing the dog a chance to figure out on their own what's right.

So what did Ziggy and I learn?

A couple of the games we've played before with our normal trainer - the "watch me" game wherein the corgi gets lots of treats and praise when they choose to look at their mother instead of all the other stuff going on, and the "follow me" game wherein said corgi gets lots of treats and praise for choosing to be with their mother when she's just wandering around and the corgi is off leash.

We got to try some new stuff, too - some new ways to proof stays and recalls.

The biggest value for me, though, was the chance to work with and proof Ziggy in a new environment with lots of distractions. I really need to work on building Ziggy's confidence - and that will only happen if we get out and have some fun in new situations.

Ziggy got lots of compliments this weekend - quite a few people commented on how handsome he is :) and how unusual it is to see a Cardigan in performance.

True to his breed Ziggy did one of the exercises a bit differently than the other dogs.... The last exercise we tried was the "follow me" exercise with distractions. The distractions in this case were 2 people sitting in the ring holding treats. One was in a chair, the other was sitting on the floor. All the other dogs, during their turn, immediately ran over to the sitting people and started looking for treats.

We got in the ring and I let Ziggy off leash. It was just the 2 of us and the 2 sitting people. Ziggy looked at me, looked at the people sitting on the ground, and gave me the strangest look like "why are these strangers sitting on the floor being so quiet? Something must be wrong. What am I supposed to do." He stopped and stood there, looking perplexed (I'm just happy he didn't bark to warn me about their strange behavior, which is what he would have done a few months ago). So we changed the exercise into the "go say hello" (my phrase) exercise. Ziggy got to go over and visit these odd people just sitting on the floor. When he got to them he got treats. Then his mother tried to call him off the nice, treat-giving people. I guess we need to work on recalls, too....

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