I mentioned earlier a few other key takeaways that I'll be working on:
- No sniffing allowed
- Break exercises down into small pieces
- Fun heeling games.
No sniffing allowed
Ok, this one I already knew, but the seminar just reinforced that I need to make this a rule ALL THE TIME when we're in a working environment. Out on a casual walk = sniffing ok. In a working environment = no sniffing.
The Trio - given their short legs - are experts at sniffing or snuffling up food off the floor while on the move. I need to always pay attention and reinforce no noses on the ground. With my next dog, this will be the way it is from the beginning. With Ziggy & Maggie, it's now a matter of consistency.
Break exercises down into small pieces
The idea here is to never do an obedience exercise in its entirety. Break them down into their basic pieces, and work on those instead, only putting them together in competition. Sylvia Bishop and Celeste Meade talked about this one as well. I guess it takes me a while to "get it", or maybe the third time is the charm.
My plan here is to set up a spreadsheet (sometimes Microsoft Excel makes it easier for me to think) and write down the components of each exercise - from Novice to Utility. Then I can think of fun games to play and train each component.
Fun Heeling Games
Making up fun heeling games plays off of the "small pieces" idea I mentioned above - break heeling down into small segments, with frequent "parties" along the way. The Rally exercises provide some ideas here. Also, I need to be aware of heeling for too long - especially with Ziggy (aka Mr. Short Attention Span).
During Utility class this week, a few of us who attended Bridget's seminar were remarking on how many great tips we picked up this weekend (many, many more than I've mentioned here). If you're into obedience or Rally, I highly recommend attending one of Bridget's seminars. Ziggy recommends it too. He thinks lots of games and frequent parties are the way to go!