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Javelin and I have been in New Jersey at Top Dog Obedience for what is becoming our annual pilgrimage to Betsy Scappichio and Linda Brennan's four day advance obedience workshop. We got up super early Friday morning and drove over to arrive at about 8 to set up working at 9:00 AM. There are 36 working teams with of course lots of golden retrievers and border collies, but also happily four standard poodles (including us) and one toy poodle. We also have an assortment of breeds like Welsh Springers, Papillons, mini doxies, a couple of Bernese mountain dogs and a Norwegian Elkhound.


Friday morning was really tough for Javelin but he loved the things we did Friday afternoon and yesterday. I got some new strategies for the open command discrimination to get a better drop which will also help with drop on recall and later the utility drop signal. Javvy also showed me he understands a lot more about a couple of exercises than I thought he did and maybe a bit less than I thought he did about other things.


The most important thing though is how Betsy and Linda are showing us how to make all of the tough exercises motivating with lots of play strategies. For example, rather than always fronting on a recall, finish with a fun game that keeps the dog wondering and excited about what is going to happen. Will I front or jump up or maybe I'll get to run after a cookie? I see a really happy gleam in his eyes.


Today most of the day focused on articles, and a concept proof for gloves vs. go outs (I learned a lot for these things to do in our regular training). My trainer (who trains with Linda) is here and on consultation we decided that trying to do articles would be too many distractions for him to be successful with. She told me to do them here at the hotel. We did and incorporating more fun releases really worked very well for him. We also played with some games on the glove and worked on command discrimination here this evening. Now he is out cold, very tired, as am I.


We have one more working day tomorrow and then will be headed for home and to reunite with BF and all the other critters. I will be happy to see BF. He has had some sort of unpleasant gastroenteritis going on and has sounded pretty miserable. And apparently Lily has been a bit mopey.


Anyway that's our story!
 

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I can't wait to read your details when you get back and have time.

I do hope your BF is over the digestive issues quickly- not fun for anyone.

One thing I'm loving about my new trainers now that I'm in that proofing and the open class - is we're using more fun games to train. I've retrained the drop on recall by having her drop to a silicon hot pad. I'm just tossing treats out and she runs to get and eat the treat then runs to drop on her mat while I say drop. It's a great way to teach drop away from the handler.

We had a productive Sunday. There was a specialty dog show, we entered their obedience and earned our final leg for our Novice title. My bugaboo was she refused to lay down in the sits and downs. Today she did it beautifully - and I didn't have to bend down and try to beg and lure her down - nope I was standing and with my right hand made my little down signal......and down she went. My heart skipped a few beats.
 
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