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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
The facility is affiliated with AKC. I'm certain they will be training per AKC rules.
To be clear, at this point, I'm intending this to be purely for fun, bonding, and refining/improving his obedience while walking. Not for competition (at least not yet). Hopefully a novice class is accommodative to a total greenhorn 馃槄! He walks at heel, loose leash, pretty good. He does still get distracted at times and pulls a little, but as soon as he does, forward progress stops, he looks at me and says "huh?", then comes back to heel position. I'm expecting to have him on leash, using treats to begin with.
 

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Yes, you will likely learn AKC version of signs. Have fun with it and I am sure you will learn nice sign/trick combos that will be fun and that will encourage connectedness and those are the two most important outcomes.
 
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Annie loves Rally!

My family think it looks incredibly boring, but we have a lot of fun. And it is occasionally useful on walks. Now, if I can only convince her that the jumps in advanced are fun, and not something to do with a great deal of attitude? 'Fine! If you insist I'll SLOWLY hop that. And glare.".

@TeamHellhound, you can add CARO to your list of organizations with virtual trialing for Rally. They now run virtual trials 2x per year. I do CARO, and they are great because they allow modifications for both disabled dogs and disabled owners. For example, a friend's dog has bad hips, and just walks between the posts with the bar on the ground instead of having to jump, along with several other modifications to signs based on his vets recommendations.
 

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Annie loves Rally!

My family think it looks incredibly boring, but we have a lot of fun. And it is occasionally useful on walks. Now, if I can only convince her that the jumps in advanced are fun, and not something to do with a great deal of attitude? 'Fine! If you insist I'll SLOWLY hop that. And glare.".

@TeamHellhound, you can add CARO to your list of organizations with virtual trialing for Rally. They now run virtual trials 2x per year. I do CARO, and they are great because they allow modifications for both disabled dogs and disabled owners. For example, a friend's dog has bad hips, and just walks between the posts with the bar on the ground instead of having to jump, along with several other modifications to signs based on his vets recommendations.
That's good to know. I'll update my info. Since I'm not in Canada, I've not looked at their website in ages.
 
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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
We took our 1st "walk-in" Rally-O class tonight. For tonight's class, the instructor set up a full "advanced" Rally course with 13 signs (plus start and finish), so mine and Elroy's very first try at this was pretty representative of a real event! There were (10) dogs including (4) 1st timers. The (6) experienced pairs went first while the instructor guided them and had them repeat/correct thier errors. After they were done, the instructor asked "Who wants to go next?" and I said me! Well Elroy nailed it at almost every sign! I'm sure he would have done even better if I knew what I was doing! There was a sign where Elroy was supposed to do a full clockwise circle around me, and I kept messing him up half way around me because I couldn't keep his treat moving around me (ran out of arm馃ぃ)! We tried that a couple more times and got it on the 3rd try. Another difficult one was a Stop>Sit>Stand>Then I do full circle around Elroy. Elroy doesn't have much practice at "Stand" and zero practice of me doing a circle around him while he stands still. He did the Sit and stand OK, but then he was completely unsure of what I wanted. There's another sign where you walk up to the sign, do a pivot turn (into your dog) 180 and swap the leash hand to hand behind your back, and wind up having Elroy back on my left walking the opposite direction. I messed this up at first, then got it pretty good. He did good on normal pace, fast pace, 270 Right, 270 left, side step 2 steps, serpentine the cones, jump the jump, circle around me while turning left.
After everyone went through it once, we all got to do it again (if we wanted). We did it a 2nd time and it went pretty much the same, probably a little better.
After we were done she asked if anyone had any questions, so I asked if tonight's class structure (like just running a full course) was normal or if there is normally more sign specific training. She said tonight was not typical of her classes. There were a number of regulars that she geared tonight's class towards. Future classes would be more "class" like.
We had fun and I'll be signing up for class again next week.
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Wonderful start. You have such a good relationship with Elroy that you will make a great team.
 

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The other thing is that there are so many AKC events you don't need lots of venues to stay busy. I make enough stupid mistakes with only one set of signs that I don't do anything other than AKC rally.
Catherine, you cannot imagine how few and far between events and clubs are in the mountain West. I am so very lucky that I'm only 27 miles from our obedience club - others drive much, much farther to classes and events.

New Mexico is 371 miles long and 344 miles wide. There are 4 All Breed clubs, a toy group club, two obedience clubs, and one agility club. Most of these are in Albuquerque. Most people have to travel to surrounding states to complete titles in a reasonable length of time in spite of the long distances from place to place. Zoe's first shows were in Amarillo, a drive of over 300 miles!
 

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Tom that sounds like quite an adventure! You did great supporting Elroy for doing signs that take some work to teach. One thing I noticed was your issue with having Elroy circle around you. This is a bit of a challenge for many teams. I suggest having a treat in both hands and starting Elroy to going around with your right hand and once he is behind you use your left hand behind your back to keep him going in the right direction. During the time you are doing this on leash it will also help you to make a smooth transition with your leash. You will find many of these moves are easier once you are able to get rid of the leash. Stick with it and I am sure you will find rally to be lots of fun and a great way to build your relationship deeper than you can imagine possible.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Tom that sounds like quite an adventure! You did great supporting Elroy for doing signs that take some work to teach. One thing I noticed was your issue with having Elroy circle around you. This is a bit of a challenge for many teams. I suggest having a treat in both hands and starting Elroy to going around with your right hand and once he is behind you use your left hand behind your back to keep him going in the right direction. During the time you are doing this on leash it will also help you to make a smooth transition with your leash. You will find many of these moves are easier once you are able to get rid of the leash. Stick with it and I am sure you will find rally to be lots of fun and a great way to build your relationship deeper than you can imagine possible.
Our instructor gave me the same advice. She took Elroy and showed me, and the class, exactly that. I still haven't practiced it with him yet though. I'll try a bit later.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
We did some practicing after last week's class. Mostly we practiced sits, downs, circles, and stands. He's come along nicely with these. Friday's class was a little more instructive than his first class. She (Danette) started by instructing how to do a proper heal-sit, and front-sit. She recommended making some props for your dog to use to attain proper position (relative to you). A small raised (2-3") platform just large enough for your dog to sit on (10"x15" for Elroy should do it) to help with a front-sit, and a 1"x 6" covered (carpet or non-skid adhesive) board to align his front feet with for the heal-sit. We practiced these for like 20 minutes. Elroy did OK, but still has a long way to go on proper position. We need to work on tuck-sits in order to get these right. After this Danette went over the most common mistakes she took points off for in her event Judging from last Monday. Biggest mistake was the human mis interpreting the signs, some of which look very similar. Taught leashes (novice) and speed changes (not noticeable) were next most common offenses. Next we all got a chance (half class (4-5)at a time) to pre-walk the course she laid out to familiarize ourselves with it. Next, one at a time, we each got to run the course. No hurry, Danette would stop us if we messed up, explain what we did wrong, then repeat that sign and continue. We all learned something from everybody elses runs. When Elroy and I went, Elroy was very excited and wouldn't settle at the starting position. Danette's dog Enzo was in his covered crate only 5 feet from the starting position (see sheet covered crate in upper right corner), and the cover wasn't fooling Elroy... He knew Enzo was there, and Elroy wanted to play. Anyway, I never did get him to settle, so we just started the course. Once we started, he was very good and focused. We did really good in general. Even Danette was giving us compliments. We had come too close to a sign requiring a halt-sit-180 right turn. Had to back up and try again. We also had some trouble with his CCW spin while I continue walking, but got it done. Left turn, 270 right turn, normal pace, slow pace, halt-down, and finish all went really well!
The hardest part for Elroy is keeping calm the entire class. Most of the class for him is just sitting quietly while Danette is instructing, or other classmates are taking thier turns. He did bark a couple of times, but never more than once at a time, usually instigated by another unsettled doggie馃榿! We had fun, learned stuff, and will be doing it again in two weeks (no class next week).
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Danette Chorney? She is one of my favorite judges. We've shown to her a number of times and we are friends on FB. You will learn lots from her, not just about teaching the signs, but how to navigate courses.
 
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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I made the training tools suggested in class. Here they are.
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The 10"x16" one is rigid foam (insulation) covered with a $6 yoga mat (from Ocean State Job Lot). I glued the mat on with spray can contact cement and secured the edges with Duct tape. The (heal-sit) alignment board is just a 1"x6" covered with the same yoga mat.
The sit platform works really well. He sits quickly and nice and close to me this way. Without it, it was difficult to get him to sit nice and close. The alignment board also works very nice, except Elroy doesn't really know a good tuck-sit yet, so when he sits after aligning both feet on it, he moves his feet back.
I've looked up tuck-sit by Kikopup, but I'm not making much progress yet.
Couple of questions now. When I ask for the tuck sit and he doesn't do it (because he doesn't know it), but does a regular sit, I don't think I'm supposed to reward him, but he's trying so hard to figure out what I want, and gets a bit frustrated if I don't reward him for his sit (he does a whiny bark, like "c'mon man, what do you want!"). Should I reward him? Or, maybe I need to forget the Rally heal-sit for now and separately try to teach him a tuck-sit so that I can put a (understood) command to it? If this is the case, what should I do for Rally practices in the meantime? Can I allow the regular sit with less than ideal alignment? Love to hear from experience! Thanks all!
 

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I would only pay for a sit at heel when Elroy keeps his front feet on the board. To help make that happen you can use a mild aversive by pulling up on his collar using his leash (I would not do this off leash until he is showing that he understands what is supposed to happen). With that bit of upward pressure to keep his feet on the board you can lure him to look up with a cookie above his head held along the seam of your pants. Another way you can work on this is to sit him between you and a wall. You will kneel next to him facing him and the wall. Hold your leash and a cookie in your right hand and use your cookie to direct his head up. This will also tend to move him towards sitting. Use your left hand to guide him to the sit while he tuacks and keeps his feet on the board. Once he has built some sucle memory you should see him tuck more readily. You may want to assign a new order to the tuck sit as separate from a casual sit. I use "come up." Another thing to be careful with is to not encourage inadvertent forging. Make sure the cookie always come from your hand right above his head and along your pants seam, not in front of you.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
I was trying this with no leash. I will put his leash on the next time we work this and try your suggestions.
For the against the wall technique, did you mean to stand him (back feet) against the wall first? You said "sit him between you and a wall". And when you said kneel next to him, did you mean in front of him?
Thanks for the tips馃榿!
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Oh my words don't convey what pictures can. Elroy will be parallel to the wall and once you kneel next to him you should be looking at him and then the wall so that your chest and abdomen are facing his side. Keep his feet on the board. Hope that says it better.
 
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