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I know it is probably technically a fault, but I loved the irrepressible poodle prance after the first exercise.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. I was actually really upset after the fun match because I felt it went so poorly. I cut out the bad parts from this video but there were a couple times he disconnected in the heel, for the start of his first figure eight he buggered off and I had to restart. The first time she did the exam he got up from his sit after she did the exam. And after his come he didn’t immediately sit in front he turned around and took a couple steps away before I called him back and he sat.
In retrospect looking back at the video the heeling went miles better than the first time I did a run through here in the fall. In the fall there was virtually not a moment where he paid me any attention in the heel. But in the fall he did his figure eight without that first blow off. He didn’t get up after his exam (though I had practiced that part more back then than I have since) and he sat super crooked but he did sit right after the come. These really were small whoopsies for a green dog but at the time I thought that for our thing in the fall we would have Q’d in everything but the heel and now I felt we wouldn’t have Q’d in anything (though in retrospect again I think this time we would have Q’d in our heel and maybe our come and if I had kept going instead of restarting we may have gotten it back together enough to Q in the figure eight.
So really the heel did have a lot of progress.
 

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Having video of what is happening is really important especially if you often train by yourself. From what I saw his heeling is better than it was in that same place earlier, but I do have one suggestion for you. Go back to foundations of attention. I would not move a single step forward on a heeling pattern if I did not have eyes up attention. This is super hard to teach because it is a really unnatural alien concept for dogs since most dogs don't like to stare (other than herders). With Javelin we set up with him in heel position (sit or stand doesn't matter) and took a step and fed him for keeping his eyes up. Once he could go one step heads up we took two steps and fed... repeat, repeat repeat. It took probably about six months before we could heel the length of a ring. Heeling that is not heads up can get you through novice and probably open, but not utility. That heads up connection that is built in heeling matters too much to the other utility exercises to not have it.


Dock diving looks like tons of fun. I think it is really marvelous that you are trying and succeeding in so many different sports with Asher. It truly points to how wonderfully versatile poodles are.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I've been wanting to talk to my instructor about doing some private lessons as well as to talk to her about my goals of trying to do the higher level stuff not just getting a pcd or cd (pre novice or novice).
Today I did a couple short sessions. One with toy reward one with food, and kept everything high energy but short bits. Was quite happy with how he worked and the energy and try he had.
We have definitely talked about his head bobbing so it's something we will be working on. Most of my heeling is not that long as it was on the video, and we haven't worked in too many new distracting areas.
I also have a hard time seeing him without looking at him and having my body get out of scew, which makes him crooked. But if I'm standing straight I simply cannot see him to know if he is looking up correctly. It makes it hard for me.
 

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If you want to go towards open or utility, privates are a must. You need someone who will not only help you teach the exercises, but also to pick apart every little thing you are doing. I regularly have my trainer "yelling" at me so to speak over little things like me halting on heeling without having my toes lines up evenly with each other and moving without Javelin locked in on attention.


Here are a couple of other things I see in your video. What in the world are you doing with your leash and your right hand? I assume the rules are pretty parallel for CKC as AKC. In AKC you have to either hold both of your hands naturally at your sides (arms hanging) or leave your right hand natural and have your left hand across your waist. With Lily she is just short enough that I heel her with both of my hands down. Javelin is tall enough that if I have my left hand down my hand interferes with his proper position so for him I hold my left hand at my waist. I hold my leash carefully folding the excess all in my left hand. The other thing I saw on the figure 8 was that you made Asher lag because you were looking for him and pushing your left shoulder back so he moved back. You have to trust him to stay with you and not look for him. Either video it, or even better ask your trainer/match judge/stewards to tell you if he lags so that you can fix it right away rather than just heeling along without it being correct. In my training classes I say uh oh any time a dog goes out of position or shifts a sit after they leave for a recall. My students all know that my uh oh means they have to fix something. You will know if he forges since you will easily see him.

To check his position at heel either at halts or on the move you can tilt your head slightly towards him and if you can just see his face looking up he is in the right place. If you see his whole head he is forged and probably has his back end flared out. If you can't see him at all that way he is lagged. You can move along in heeling with your head at that slight tilt. You shift your eyes back and forth to see your dog and where you are going, but also you have to trust that the judge won't heel you off the edge of a cliff. If you are indoors you really don't have to look where you are going at all, just stay connected to the dog.


Practice the correct work, don't accept less than correct in training since most dogs will not be as good in trials as in training. If you loose attention on a heel pattern stop, reset and try again as many times as needed to keep heads up attention. I know when you have paid for ten minutes of practice ring time the tendency is to think you have to do the whole routine, but you paid to do what you need to not what the judge thinks you should do. I almost never do a whole routine in a match ring. I either go in planning a routine and stop and fix things that turn up as problems or I go in planning to work on one or two things that I know we need to practice very seriously.
 

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One thing that really helps me with heeling is getting my leash, folding it up with enough slack for the dog, holding the leash across my belly in my left hand, and putting the clasp in my pocket. That's right, I practice heeling without my dog. I practice without my dog because I need to know how to walk in a straight line. I need to know how to make right turns, left turns, about turns, and change pace smoothly. That muscle memory helps me when I put my dog on the leash.

If you look for your dog when you're heeling together, your body posture will be thrown off. This is especially important on the right side of the figure eight. The dog is more likely to keep up with you if your speed is steady and you don't look back toward your dog. If you look back, your shoulder signals to the dog to slow down.

I had a super hard time learning how to walk the figure eight smoothly. My trainer told me to look at the people's necks as I go around. Keep my head up. "Check and see if they washed behind their ears", is what Karen always says. When I remember (and I don't always) Noelle's figure eights are smoother.
 

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Don't think of it as the right side of the figure 8, but the leg where the dog is on the outside. Depending on how the judge sets things up and which way you prefer to go that could be to the right or the left. The dog has to go faster than you on that leg and slower than you on the inside to stay in position. Heeling has tons of finesse to it with the figure 8 being the hardest thing. we need to keep our pace constant and the dog needs to adjust. There are lots of things we do to make the figure 8 in the words of a judge Javelin and I showed to over the summer (and mind you we qualified in beginner novice) that was atrocious. It was horrible and I didn't see what he did but I felt it through the leash. This was the day a nasty dog tried to attack Javelin not more than 10 minutes before our routine. I was lucky I got any good work from him since he was worried about where that dog was. He went all the way out to the end of as much leash as he could take and I suspect was looking out of the ring all together on that first outside leg.
 
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Mysticrealm, you're lucky if you can get private lessons - no one local to me is available to teach private lessons - they are all stretched too thin teaching classes.

We discussed trying to see your dog when heeling in class last night - if you look back at your dog, they lag. You have to look forward but tilt your head slightly down and move your eyes to the left and down and if your dog is in heel position you can see part of their face - not the whole head. I have a minipoo and it's even harder to find her way down there - haha I'm glad I don't have a tpoo. But I can see part of her face so I know you can see Asher too. It took me forever not to stand tilted/bent over to the left trying to get lower to my dog because I felt I had to see more of her which was wrong - I finally straightened up but then it's taken a while to learn to walk straight ahead. I've also done what Click does - practice without my dog - but I probably haven't done it enough.

As for heeling, I've noticed that my dog follows my shoulder - she can't see my face and if she could she would clearly be forging ahead. I find that if I keep my left hand at my waist, when I turn, I move my shoulder and my arm/hand so I send her the signals to turn left or right or all around, or to pivot backward in a circle. When I have my hand dangling "naturally" which is hard to do when you're stressed in a trial I would think - it's harder for me to make clear movements with my shoulder to signal my dog.

Anyhow I struggle with heeling, it's the hardest and my teachers keep reminding the class that it is hard and you continue to struggle with it all the way up to futility.

One thing training has taught me....... patience. And I keep reminding myself if this was easy, everyone would be doing it. The fun and challenge is it's hard. I also remind myself that this is my first dog I'm training and everyone in my class is on their third or forth or seventh. So when we make mistakes or struggle with something that others make look easy - don't be too hard on yourself or Asher - remember you're fairly new to this game.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
I'm really hoping she'll have time to do some privates and that they aren't TOO expensive. I'm going to try different ways of holding my head to be able to see him without twisting up my body. Yes we have him 'targeting' to my shoulder as where to look and you can tell in the video that when I'm looking at him and twisting he twists with me (usually ending up with his hind end in behind me).
This weekend and all my thinking on this issue adn seeing the higher level dogs really did inspire me (though all the higher level people were practically beating their dogs into it on the match/practice on thursday which I won't do, but I loved seeing the precision) and I really want to make sure that we're gonna be doing everything as best as we can to get us as far as we can.
I am very hard on us and trying not to be. The more positive I can be, the more enthusiastic and willing to work he will be.
 

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Your positive attitude is really important since you need to be a really connected team. I am sort of surprised to hear that you found the upper level handlers to be harsh or rough on their dogs. Most of my OTCh friends are certainly firm with their dogs, but not harsh.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A few things these people did were
One lady would, for some reason, start slapping her dog's front legs side to side (first one leg then the other then the first leg again then the other leg)
One put an elastic band over her dogs nose for one exercise and snapped it against his nose a couple times.
All of them, if their dogs would sit slightly crooked, would grab their dogs caller, take and step back and yank their dogs into a front, step back and yank their dogs into a front, step back and yank their dogs into a front.
And they all yanked their dogs around if they lagged or messed up.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh and one lady smacked her dog on the nose for not holding the dumbbell as quietly as she wanted.
Now, to be fair, I believe that all of those people were being trained by the same trainer. So not necessarily a true representation of what, hopefully, most people do. My trainer may not be 100% all positive, she'll use some collar pressure and that kind of thing, but she would not do what this other trainer teaches and my trainer and this other trainer do not get along due to them disagreeing on training style.
 

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Wow, I’ve never seen that and I watched classes in utility and CDX in my club.

I see leash pops, not harsh. I also see water spray bottles to get dogs to be quiet in cages while waiting. Someone used a squirt water gun with one dog in agility because he kept jumping off the side of the dog walk and they wanted to break that dangerous habit in that one dog, and it worked.

Last year in rally class someone yelled, really yelled and tried to hit her dog (dog pulled away and didn’t get hit). She was frustrated and angry at her dog. My trainer told her never to hit her dog or yell like that and if she couldn’t then she shouldn’t come back to class. She left and never came back. Frankly if you are that upset you need to take a break. The whole class was shocked at this behavior.

You get disqualified if you are treating your dog harshly.

I know in the past they used harsher methods, maybe this trainer still uses the old methods? I know some people still use the ear pinch for dumbbell retrieve but it’s been modified to be much easier on the dog.

I would be very upset if I saw such harsh treatment too.
 

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Oh yikes that all sounds dreadful and yes I could imagine that all those people train with the same person. I have never seen rubber bands being snapped on dogs' noses or nearly any of those other punishers you described. I do think you have to give a dog information if it is wrong and you think it really knew what it was supposed to be doing. As an example if I had a dog that laid down during a sit stay or a sit before a recall or retrieve I would physically put the dog back into a sit either by pulling up on the collar for a lie down or taking the dog by the collar and bringing it back to heel and if needed arranging it back to a sit, but those things can be done gently yet in a way that conveys information about what was desired.


Don't go to that person for private lessons!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm not someone that is 100% needs to be positive with no corrections at all, but definitely not to that degree.
obviously I would never take any lessons from that trainer.
 

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I'm not someone that is 100% needs to be positive with no corrections at all, but definitely not to that degree.
obviously I would never take any lessons from that trainer. I didn't really think you would. People like that should retire or be out of business because nobody goes to them.

Information needs to be clear and fair. For instance you can't punish a dog for not doing something it doesn't understand. Like if the dog is lagging and doesn't understand with heel position jerking the leash isn't fair. Or on the other hand if the dog is forging and knows where heel is I think it is entirely fair to give a little leash pop and remind the dog to get into heel position.
 
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