Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Where We Are Going and How We Are Getting There

It is no secret that one day I hope to have Rundle ready to compete at the Utility level in obedience.  It will still be a long time before we step into the obedience ring, even at the Novice level.  Some people have a specific goal in mind of when they want to take their dog in the ring, but I do not. Right now, I figure somewhere around when Rundle is 3 years old or so, but that will all depend on how he matures and how our training progresses. I do know that I will not take him into the ring until he is ready and that I want him to be fluent in all the exercises through the Utility level before we debut in Novice.

We have so much work to do but when I look at how much progress Rundle has made in the last 8.5 months since I brought him home, it really is amazing. He now has bits and pieces to make up all the exercises in all the obedience levels. Of course, we still need to learn much more and then put all those bits and pieces together and work on actual ring prep, but if we keep working steadily, we will get there.

For all the obedience levels, heeling is very important. In my mind it is also the most difficult exercise to teach and have your dog maintain enthusiasm for.  Right now, Rundle is learning about heeling - mainly, where exactly heel position is and how he can get there and stay there.

Novice level:
Rundle has the basics of fronts and finishes and stays (sit, down and stand) as well as the recall. I need to introduce the exam for the "stand for exam", but Rundle needs to be more solid on his stays before we add the excitement of someone trying to touch him. We have not combined any of these basics and I won't until each component is strong by itself.

Open Level:
Rundle is working hard on a formal retrieve.  So far we have split the components and have a hold, a carry, a pick up and the beginnings of a turn. Once each piece is solid, we will combine them into one full retrieve.
We have the beginnings of the drop on recall which are a fast response to the down cue and a down at a short distance.
Rundle has the basics of jumping.  We will introduce the broad jump this week.

Utility Level:
Rundle has the beginning of the retreiving he will need for the seek back. 
Rundle is loving the scent articles and we will continue to make them more challenging and then add in a retrieve once he is solid on that.
Signals - Rundle knows the position changes but we need distance and hand signals only. 
Moving Stand - we are making good progress on the moving stand. The exam by the judge will take a lot of prep - jumping on the judge is not scored well ;)
Directed Jumping - Rundle has the basics of a go out, both to a nose and foot target. We also have been working on the directed jumping and that is going well, although Rundle does have a side that is much stronger.

So, that is our progress up until now. Bits of this and bits of that. Someday all the bits should come together into the various exercises. Until then, we will keep working and having fun.

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