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Discussion Starter #441
Skylar I did rally at my club the first week in December at my own club. I did have a couple of times where I felt like I was going to trip over Lily on things like 360s and 270 turns, but made it through them, but that was right after the full bad illness week. She did well moving a little when I wasn't going straight and thankfully there wasn't any side by side spinning. I think rally will be just fine. My concern is to not install the idea that Javelin thinks he has to watch out for me while we are heeling. I have some PT colleagues whose offices are in my building and will ask one of them for some balance exercises. It sounds like a good idea.

We should be able to put it all in good order by April for that POTC trial.
 

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Thanks so much for writing this up. It's really helpful!

What is the motivation for training open and utility exercises before trialing/titling novice? Would love to understand the pros and cons of this.

At what age did you start with longer training sessions? It looks like you do a private and a group lesson on the same day (same morning). We used to go to a 60 minutes class, and it was hard, for my pup but also for me. Usually I do just a few minutes max but multiple times a day.

Thanks for all the information about workshops and poodle specialties. I hope I'm not traveling in early April and can attend the specialty trials.

If you have time, I'd love to read your thoughts on trialing in Rally vs Obedience vs both.
 

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Discussion Starter #443
With Lily I trained for novice, titled in novice then trained for open and titled in open. After that we trained for utility and by that time she had had some experiences that left her not confident for the away work in utility. She knows all of the exercises for utility but has never been able to hold it together to qualify them all in a trial. In the meantime I had also been doing rally with her so I decided that would be my focus with her. She likes rally since there aren't exercises that involve long distance away work and I can talk to her.

Most of the excellent handlers who I am lucky enough to work with train all their dogs all of the novice, open and utility exercises early on even if they aren't all perfect and trial ready. They then trial in novice and title. Once they have at least one novice leg they then whip the open into shape so they can move right on to trial there and then do the same with the transition from open to utility. This is my approach with Javelin and I think he is already much more confident for open and utility than Lily was. He knows everything at least in concept. I am currently working on getting his novice trial ready for that poodle specialty in April. We are going to matches at that trial site (went last week) and will be going there for a training party on Sunday this week. Then we will go back there for matches at the end of January-March so he will feel like that is almost like home. Even now though we are working on open and utility exercises even while prepping to trial novice.

Since I still work a real full time job (college professor) my training times and days are at a premium. I was saying to a friend today that if I didn't have to work Javelin would already be a UDX and working on an OTCh, but alas such is not my lot in life. I have to fit my training into my Thursday morning class (open and utility level), privates when I can get on the schedule since my trainer is in high demand, and rental time on Saturday where I take an hour and a half so I have some time to review rally things with Lily. Javelin is a happy warrior and as long as I don't drill him too much on any one exercise he will keep going as long as he gets short play breaks at intervals. Those long sessions I do with him are exhausting but productive.

Where are you usually going for classes? And where do you live? Tell me by a direct message if you don't want to give all of that information in the open. If you can easily get on the Long Island Railroad, my training club is very very close to the Deer Park station. In nice weather it actually is a longish walk from the LIRR. I teach thre on Fridays and have all levels of obedience on my schedule every week. Many weeks I also have rally run thrus at 1:00 PM (although for the next four weeks I am running a CGC class in that time slot.

Feel free to ask me anything at any time.
 

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Discussion Starter #444
Javelin and I took training time at my private trainer's place this morning.

I did not do much with heeling since I still want to make sure my sense of balance doesn't go out of whack while moving with him so we worked on a bunch of things that are more static for me (but still let me pay attention to my body language and how different positions fell (pretty goo actually)).

We did retrieve on the flat for an opener. He loves to retrieve his dumb bell so I used that to motivate a flat retrieve. After that we did gloves. We don't do the pivot yet, but I do set him up facing the glove position I want him to go to and with him on a flexi attached to his flat bucle collar I make sure he is looking at me before I toss the glove into one of the three positions and make sure I give him a good signal and that he does a good mark to the glove. I then send him to it and call him to front as he turns with the glove. He doesn't always make it back to a nice front with the glove, but he is doing nice pick up and he does return with the glove. We will isolate the front with the glove at home to reinforce his picture of the end of the exercise.

Since we haven't done it in a while we then did the broad jump. This will be one of his best open exercises I think since he never has problems judging his take off. Here we also have to clean up his fronts, but he worked hard to get them today.

We then did some work on the retrieve over the high jump. He totally understands that he has to go out over the jump to make the retrieve, but if my throw has spin on it and the dumb bell lands out of lie with the jump he still think he can go around it to come back over the jump. I think there are two things to work on there. First I need to try to make sure my throws go straight as often as possible and Javelin has to understand that where the dumb bell lands shouldn't matter. I easily trained Lily to know that she had to get off to the side throws and return over the jump by throwing the dumb bell out to the sides, but don't think Javvy is ready for that proof yet.

Since we still had time, we then worked on go outs. The go outs were great so I decided I would see if he was ready to reconnect the jump to the go out, nope not today. Now I was running low on time so I decided to move on and worked on the open command discrimination where I am finally seeing some progress in getting Javvy to keep his attention on me instead of dropping his head when I leave him in the stand. He also is now letting me leave further to give the drop and sit signals/orders.

All in all we got a lot done and I am looking forward to going back down to New Jersey for a ten team limit training party tomorrow.
 

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That sounds like a productive day! Noelle also thinks if the dumbbell lands to the side of the jump she can go around it. Then again, she also thinks she is supposed to set the dumbbell down, jump over, and then come front. We have a long way to go for sure. I wish you good luck on your training party. I can't wait to hear more.
 

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Discussion Starter #446
Yes, it took Javelin a while to figure out that he could take the jump while holding the dumb bell too! Have you tried sitting Noelle in front of the jump (lower than her normal jump height) and giving her the dumb bell telling wait and hold and then stepping over the jump and calling her over? That helped Javvy tremendously.
 

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We also have work to do with my tossing of the dumb bell and Babykin’s understanding that if you are sent to jump over the jump for a retrieve it means you jump back no matter where the dumb bell lands. Wish I was a better tosser. I did learn to step in or move to always encourage a return back over the jump while training.

Catherine did you teach a forced retrieve? I haven’t but most people where I train do..... a gentle one, not the old fashioned painful one.
 

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Discussion Starter #448
Yes, I so wish I was a more consistent thrower, but I am not the worst I've seen. I know one or two people who let go at just the wrong time and send their dumb bell up towards the ceiling. My problem is throwing curves.
 

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Haha I started as someone who threw to the ceiling and was shown how to hold and release it. The darn dumb bell bounces so no matter how perfect you throw that bounce adds uncertainty.
 

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Discussion Starter #450
It is interesting to me that some people make very consistently great throws no matter what the flooring is like and no matter what kind of dumb bell they have. I am not one of those folks!
 

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I practice throwing my dumbbell into a hula hoop so I can get a feel for how to throw it. The trick to it is looking where you want it to land, or at least where you want it to take the first bounce. And yes, I have practiced calling Noelle over a tiny jump with the dumbbell. She is getting better. Not great at it, but better.
 

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Click. That’s brilliant practicing throwing it through a hoop. Okay. I have to buy a hoop.
 

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The hula hoop is flat on the ground and I have to get the dumbbell to land within the circle. I'm getting better at it. My trainer insisted I practice dumbbell throwing after face palming a thousand times and shaking his head. Dave is a riot! I'm the only student who signed up for his open class. I get a private lesson once a week. Dave trains basset hounds, so he has lots of patience. Lots and lots of patience.
 

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The hula hoop is flat on the ground and I have to get the dumbbell to land within the circle. I'm getting better at it. My trainer insisted I practice dumbbell throwing after face palming a thousand times and shaking his head. Dave is a riot! I'm the only student who signed up for his open class. I get a private lesson once a week. Dave trains basset hounds, so he has lots of patience. Lots and lots of patience.
I‘m glad you explained, haha. I was thinking where Nd how I was going to hang a hula hoop up so I could toss the dumb bell through it. Makes sense it’s a target on the floor.

You‘re also lucky to be the only student in your open class. Mine varies but not unusual to have 12 people. There’s less people in the utility class that follows. Being the only one means you can concentrate on what you and Noelle need.
 

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Discussion Starter #455
Wow I really wish I never had to go to work again. Our winter break ends on Tuesday the 21st and of course that will restrict our training opportunities.

In the past two weeks or so, Javelin and I have been to New Jersey twice to a location where we will trial in April. We also had private lessons twice in each of the last two weeks and took our regular Thursday morning class, worked at my own club and rented my trainer's ring each of the three Saturdays of the past three weeks. Phew!

I have worked on so many things it is hard to remember, but highlights include:
1. in New Jersey: working ring entrances and focus with other dogs working nearby; heeling on and off lead, figure 8s; articles; broad jump, retrieve on the flat and gloves.
2. in our private lessons: open command discrimination; gloves; pivots; ring entries; articles; novice stand for exam; judge pressure; heeling; go outs; recalls; fronts and finishes; exercise to exercise attention and movement......plus
3. in our class: focus, focus, focus; heeling and figure eights; broad jump; articles; novice stand for exam; ring entries
4. at my club: ring entrances; heeling with heavy judge pressure; retrieve on flat; gloves; novice recalls; exercise to exercise focus

I have to give Javelin a lot of credit for working hard and having fun at the same time. He is definitely a dog with a waggly tail when we are training. If I could do that much work every week we would be in open or utility by now. If my mortgage would just disappear I would be all good to retire. So sad...
 

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That sounds like some fantastic practice. I'm really happy you have such a focused and willing partner. And, yes, it's a bummer that bill paying reality gets in the way. As you are approaching your next trial, what's your biggest concern for Javvy? Judge pressure? A strange dog wandering too close to the ring gate corner on an about turn? Every dog we train is different. Learning what distracts one dog, and how the trainer works through it, helps me train Noelle better.
 

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Discussion Starter #457
Judge and steward pressure are my biggest issues. He has improved drastically in terms of ignoring things the next ring over but I still have concerns about people in the ring with us. He was actually very concerns about Deb on Monday which was very odd since he knows her very well and he likes and respects her (but maybe that was why he was attentive to her...). I don't think location will be a problem since we will be back at the April trial site ar least two or three more times before the event.
 
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