Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

9 Down - 1 To Go ! ! ! ! !

Well, we got the ninth UDX leg this past weekend - I guess there's no turning back now! We had a chance to get the tenth leg on Sunday, but no Qs. However, we won't talk much about that - we'll just focus on Saturday :)

It was a small entry at Saturday's trial, so only one ring and lots of room for crating and warm-up. He was worried in the ring, but he managed to hold it together and complete all the exercises in both utility and open for that double Q. The stress showed up in not-too-pretty fronts and finishes, and the usual slow down in sits and performing the exercises.

Sunday was a different story. (I just never know which Jackson is going to show up in the ring.) There were several more entries in the Sunday trial, however, still not crowded or distracting - at least I didn't think so. However something really was bothering Jackson and he couldn't focus on the job at hand. I could tell he was stressed when we entered the ring because he slowed down even more than usual and was lagging on the heeling and turns. He NQd on the first exercise - the signals. He did the down, sit and come okay, except.... he stopped and sat about five feet out in front of me instead of coming on in. Open B went much better than utility - that is until we got to the long sit. He went down immediately before I got across the ring. That was very uncharacteristic for him. Never done that before, so I will just chalk that up as a fluke and not worry about it for now.

Back to Saturday - It was a gorgeous fall day here in the Midwest and the trial was held near one of the larger lake/resort areas in Iowa, Clear Lake. So, after the trial we went over to the lake to hang out for awhile - to bask in the sun and to celebrate getting the ninth leg.

Here's a couple pictures of our afternoon. I was surprised by Jackson's reaction to the water. He walked right into the water. I think he might have just kept going if I had let loose of the lead or gone in the water with him :) Hmmmmm, maybe dock diving is in his future.

Friday, October 8, 2010

When does 'sit' mean 'sit' ?

We've been working hard lately on the verbal sit command. As you may recall from earlier posts, this was the area we decided to focus on after the last trial where I got no sits on the go outs. It didn't seem as though Jackson recognized the command in that situation. Or, if he did recognize it, he wasn't confident enough in that situation to do it in a timely manner.

Coincidently, Hsin-Yi had a post on Honey's blog yesterday about dogs not generalizing and about testing to see if they understood the command when you were giving it from positions other than in front of them. This had also been one of the games on Susan Garrett's 'Brilliant Recall' e-course I took recently. Dogs not generalizing commands is not a new concept to me, but I had never really set about testing the 'sit' command to see how many different positions and places I could give the command - without any treats or body/hand movements -and have him respond correctly.

So, today I decided to see how well he would do with the command from different positions. What I found was, he does really well when we are in the kitchen and in various other locations when I am standing in front of him up to 10-15 feet away. And, he also responded well when I turned my back to him and gave the command. However, not so well when I was sitting down, as you will see in the video.

The following short clips are from our 'test' this afternoon - first in the kitchen, then moving to the deck. (I haven't figured out yet how to edit the clips to put them together in one video, thus the two clips. If anyone has suggestions for video editing software that works well with Windows 7, please let me know : )

I think what our 'test' today shows is, we really need to continue work on the sit command in different locations and my giving the command from different and unusual positions. We also need to work on the sit command with various distractions.