For Ziggy's outing this week we went to a Novice Proofing Seminar. That's a seminar to teach how to proof for Novice Obedience exercises, not a proofing seminar for novices - but I guess it worked for that, too.
The seminar was good for Ziggy, and not just because of the in-class exercises. There was lots going on at the training facility last night, so we got to proof outside of the ring distractions as well.
Here's an example: "Alert! Mom! Alert! See that strange creature with the pointy head and small face? Alert! Alert!" To us, this would be a woman who made the sensible choice of wearing a big hat and coat when out in the well-below-freezing temps. To Ziggy: a strange being from another planet. Thankfully, my "check it out" command worked, and Z was brave enough to go over and sniff. As this was a dog person, she had treats at the ready and dispensed them freely to brave dog approaching her. Soon enough, the strange pointy-headed being was Z's best friend. We won't be fooled by that one again! Or maybe we will. Ziggy is a Cardi after all, and vigilance is paramount. We also got to practice ignoring dogs doing agility, dogs and people entering & exiting the building, etc. Very good experiences for the Z.
Oh, so what fun proofing ideas did I take away? My 2 faves related to the figure 8 exercise.
Something we practiced was using jump standards dressed up like humans as the posts for the figure 8. Our instructor dressed the standards up in robe or long coat, hats, treats and gloves in the pockets, etc. Great for proofing the figure 8, and proofing for attention. Staring at mom is more fun than checking out the odd post - mom has treats & praise!
One of my classmates shared with us that she uses free-standing inflatable punching bags as posts. This way she can bump them as goes around, causing them to move and become "alive" and "scary" providing good opportunities to proof attention whilst heeling. Perhaps I'll ask for a pair of these for Christmas. Would that be strange or wrong? Probably. Do I care? Probably not.
Both of these exercises are also ones that can be done when training alone, which I appreciate.
Next week is an Open Proofing Seminar. Maggie and I will be going. I'll have fun learning more things. Maggie will have fun getting lots of treats and praise. I'll let you know how it goes.