Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Toe, Heel!

More animal talk.... grin. I'm such an animal nerd.

I had a lesson with this woman in Denver about Toe and his obedience work. I feel somewhat confident I know enough to get Toe's novice obedience title or CD (companion dog) but wanted someone who has been involved to take a look and make sure I was on the right track.

After all, Toe is my first small dog and it does make a difference in handling.

F put me through a mock judging like there would be at a show. Mostly we were o.k. - his stays are spot on. His stand for exam was good. The figure 8 was decent. His come to me and finish into heel position were o.k. The thing I most need work on is my heeling.

Since I've had big dogs, I always treated with my right hand. When big dogs are in heel position or sitting next to you in heel position, their heads are right there next to your hip... they can see your right hand by just moving their head or neck.

Toe was forging in front and heeling wide... well, it's because I'm using my right hand to treat him. He's small and can't simply move his head to see the treat or my hand... he has to go wide and pop out in front a little to see. My hand goes from my right hip, alllllll the way across my body and down to him at calf level.... that is a long way for a treat to travel to a waiting dog's mouth.

DUH! Made so much sense when F told me why he was going wide and out in front of me.

Now I need to break old habits and treat with my left hand to keep him close in and looking up at me. I'm not very coordinated. It's gonna take me a minute to break that old habit...

Once I began doing that more in my lesson, his heeling really improved.... I also need to get a full length mirror and practice looking in the mirror and not down at him... looking down pushes my shoulder back which in turn pushes the dog out and away from my body. Hmmm. Gotta find a place to practice where I can set up a mirror. It's not going to be in our tiny 900 sq. ft. house... we have no long hallways or big rooms.

I'll work on it for a month and call F for a repeat evaluation.

As she said, "He's got a lot to work through while you get yourself together!"


Isn't that usually how it goes?

Dang hairless monkeys always messing up the 4 legged furred and hairy things.


Heather said...

The place we boarded at in Oklahoma was run by a lady who also showed basset hounds. She was always saying "praise the dog, slap the handler", which I thought was hilarious!

Shanster said...

Yeah - think that is pretty accurate! grin.