Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rip's Training Diary #3: Incompatible for Conformation?

I love training Rip, and I'm really trying to make obedience training as fun as I can.  I'm hoping this fun will transfer into the ring, and the games I'm training now will help us in obedience, rally & agility.

I'm afraid, though, that some of the things I'm training Rip to do may be "inconvenient" for conformation showing.  Oops!

Here are the things I'm probably going to have to apologize to Carolyn and Mandy (and anyone else who may show Rip in conformation) for:

Backing up

Ok, this one I don't feel TOO bad about, as Carolyn told me I should train Rip to back up on command, I'm just not sure this is what she had in mind:

I took on a challenge of training him to back up using the clicker, and it worked!  He now backs up far and fast (Rip likes fast) when asked.

Rip also "offers"(does it when not asked to just to see if he'll get a treat) the back up when he thinks you want him to work.  This offering of the backup became a little inconvenient even for me (hard to pet or leash up a dog when it up when it keeps backing up with a big smile on its face), so I decided to teach another trick to get Rip to come to me.  This led me to training him to...

Go Through my Legs

OK, I taught this one using the clicker, too.  It was so much fun to teach!  It's also handy because, after Rip goes through my legs, he puts himself into heel position and smiles wildly up at me.  So, so, cute.  And useful for obedience & agility!

But, oops, Rip thinks this one is super-fun, too, so he offers it when he wants to work, or if he wants attention, etc.  Part of training this included him really pushing himself through if my legs are close together (so much fun - he really has to work for it!) - so he's not dissuaded by standing with legs close together.

I recommend that whoever shows him in conformation wear a knee-length skirt, or pants.  Otherwise things could get ugly.

Hit the Stantion

This one has nothing to do with counteracting something else I've taught him.  I taught Rip to paw at the station so that we have a game to play to reinforce go-outs later on.  It was a fun thing to teach, and Rip loves it -- you should see the look of glee on his face when he's frantically pawing away.

But it did occur to me the other day, when Rip knocked down 2 sections of my ring gates with his enthusiastic scratching, that perhaps this one isn't so great for the conformation ring.

But maybe Carolyn can just keep him off the rail unless she's really keeping his attention.  Because, oh, did I mention that I clicker trained this one, too, and we both think it's really funny, so he'll offer it from time to time if standing on leash by a stantion.

I think these are the only "incompatible for conformation" behaviors I've taught Rip so far.  Unless you count really fast downs, circles to the left and right, and weaving through my legs as a heeling game.  But I'm choosing not to count those, so there you go.

I AM trying to make up for this by teaching him a useful ring command.  I won't commit to it in writing now, though.  Because either:
A) I want it to be a nice surprise for Carolyn and Mandy (and I mean that seriously)
B) I've never trained it before and I have no idea if it will work

I would promise to not train any other incompatible behaviors, but we're already working on barking on command, so I guess I can't do that.  Sorry!


  1. Stop, Stand, Step, and Let's Go will counteract the obedience training for conformation. Rip is just so cute. He's going to burn up the Obedience circuit.

  2. What a great, enthusiastic boy! You must be a great trainer!

  3. keep up the good work, your doing well on your training :D

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