Thanks to all that made it all possible - Dale Gordan, Dawn Jecs, Patty Ruzzo.
Fun matches are mock trials. You get an opportunity to work your dog in a distracting environment. I fun match my dogs from the time they are little puppies so they get accustom to going to different places and seeing and hearing different things.
· Work at the dogs level of training. Go to a lower level if necessary do not be afraid to step back with your dog.
· Think of the fun match as a training environment, we don’t make corrections but we do want the dog to work correctly. Help the dog to be right.
· I work dogs in Novice, Open and Utility at the level they are working. My job at a fun match is to utilize a helper.
· If I find a problem I try to go on and work on the problem at home. If it is an attention issue you may be asking too much from the dog at the time.
· Sit and Down - make sure you know all the dogs around you. Find out if they have stay problems and watch if you see a training issue. YIf you can not do the stays, stay close to your dog - even on leash. Don’t be afraid to step back you will only be giving confidence to your dog.
· Practice your foot work if the dog isn’t ready to heel in the ring. Learning to be comfortable with a judge person calling commands takes time and practice. Utilize this opportunity.
· Have a helper watch your dog for signs of stress on recall and stand - yawning etc. Go back and reinforce.
· Stand - If your dog isn’t ready for a stand for exam do a sit for an exam.
· Have fun and smile at your dog. I usually take special treats and toys so they think of shows as fun.
· Go and just play in the ring with the judge person standing around. Do some "Lets GO" and line up and play with your dog. You don’t have to do the whole run through.
· Do the exercises backwards.
· Have a jackpot for your dog at some point in the run through. Variable and unpredictable.
Resources to further your knowledge of Obedience
Fronts & Finish | Articles
1. Teaching the dog to catch. First I throw the cookie very slowly with my hand. Say "Catch" and threw it. IF they miss it I make a game of trying to get it, before they get it off the floor.
2. After you have them catching from hand you may start the next step.
3. Catching from your mouth. I use very visible food hang it out of mouth get on my knees so I am close to the dog an say "catch" and drop the cookie.
4. Drop is the key if you spit it will be too fast. So you drop a cookie from your mouth if they miss, grab it.
5. Gradually Stand up so they will catch food from your mouth. Always by saying "catch" then the cookie falls.
1. Dog must follow cookie and catch cookies
2. Dog sits in front of handler. Reinforce for sitting in front. I will line up with them, to show them a straight front.
3. Reinforce for eye contact on fronts.
4. Place BOTH hands in the center of your body with a cookie. Take one SMALL step back say "FRONT" have the dog follow with you. Small dogs the cookie will be between your knees for all steps.
5. I begin to get my hands to my side very quickly so that I can have the dog focused on my face to catch the cookie. I am still taking a SMALL step back with the dog moving with me.
6. Now I begin having the dog wait while I step back one step then say "Front". If the dog does not move I
a. Step back to encourage them to come back.
b. Bring my hands to the center of my body with a cookie and go to the dog's nose and draw them in.
7. Once the dog understands you stepping back one step and coming into a nice front you can go on.
a. I will always make sure the dog is straight by moving a foot or the food.
b. I figure if the dog is crooked it is my fault and I need to fix something.
c. The way you SPIT your cookie will also influence the front.
d. If you always spit to the right the dog will hang to your right leg so SPIT to the left to get them to the left.
e. If they are too far away I will spit very close to my body.
f. Too close - Spit over their head.
g. I never FIX a front after the dog is sitting. I will make it straight next time.
8. I do side step fronts
9. Fronts in circle
10. Backing up fronts with head up and getting cookies.
11. Make it fun and a game.
1. Have 2 cookies in your Left hand and stand on a line that goes straight behind you. Have the dog sitting in front of you. Feed the dog for any focus attention on you. Step back with your left foot, drawing the dog back with the cookie in your left hand. Have your hand cupped forward towards the dogs nose and draw the dog back as far as you reach. Very important that you step STRAIGHT back. Give first cookie. Then have the second cookie ready and draw the dog straight forward like a magnet and then jump to get the cookie
2. After I have patterned the step back. I drop the step back but still feed when the dog is deep behind me. Then go forward for the cookie.
3. I make sure through this WHOLE process that my body is straight.
4. Then I just say "Swing" and have the dog do the above then say sit after one step back.
5. I drop the step back and stand stationary.
1. Cookie in your left hand have dog just jump up for the cookie.
2. After the jump up is patterned. I will begin to help the dog get in heel position. I have the dog jump for the cookie and I step STRAIGHT back two or 3 steps then have them sit beside me. Watch that their feet aren't on you. Usually make sure you are stepping straight back.
1. Dog still sitting in front. Reinforcing for all attention on my face. I will have a cookie in my right hand and my left. With the cookie in my right hand, I go to the dogs nose and draw him around my body by turning in place. I turn a complete circle and end up the same way I started 1 step straight ahead and give the dog the cookie in my left hand
2. Gradually I delay the time I turn in the exercise till the dog knows to go all around for the cookie. You can use a toy or anything for this excersise.
1. Motivation recalls
a. Someone holding the dog. Handler says "Front" and turns and run.
b. Someone holding the dog. Handler says "Front" and backs up then has cookie feed in front and center (no sit necessary). Make sure head is up.
c. Teach "Under" to the dog - short distance to long.
d. After I have done work on fronts I will begin to add a sit on the front by using food to guide them.
d. If your dog responds to hands at your side and focus on your face you should have a visible food and say front again when they are running in.
2. Running recalls are very important. Dogs always get lots of food for nice recalls. Small dog would always have food in between my knees just becomes more invisible. Big dogs would have cookies (multiple maybe better food) spit.
3. I always mix up motivational and real recalls. Once the dog has a stay motivational can be done with out a helper. I also build time from Front till when the handler turns and runs so the dog never knows what recall they are doing.
1. Pick an ultimate come word, or special whistle.
2. Only use that special word or whistle when you know the dog will come.
3. Have someone help you by holding the dog for you to call them and turn and run.
4. Do come here's with other people in circle.
5. Around the house with come here's
6. Once you are sure that your dog understands come here in a close quarters then proof.
7. Come. This is how we will build a reliable recall that you can take anywhere.
8. IMPORTANT: Do not overuse your come here word. You want it to be for those emergencies . I have a casual here too.
1. We are using a lot of food we need to proof for attention on the front.
2. Have food in both hands and visible to dog. The dog will look at the food but he will only get the food when he looks at your face. "YES' cookie from the hand they were looking at.
3. Do this until they stay focused on your face.
4. Add other distractions people, toys etc. The dog will get nothing unless they look at your face. IF they move just place them into a sit and remind them of their sit.
1 Dog must be able to follow cookie. May need to follow cookie with articles in your hand.
2. Start articles sit in the pile. Handler has cookie in their hand and one cookie on the bar of the article. Set the article down so the dog sees the cookie but you are holding the dog. Say "Find It" stay quiet, no other commands. The dog will go eat the cookie, when the dog eats the cookie have your second cookie, pick up the article and at the dog's nose and lure them to you.
IMPORTANT: Always the dog should go in and come out the same direction.
3. Very quickly you will set the article down so the dog cannot see you place it. Say :Find It" then nothing till the dog eats the cookie. Quickly be ready with second cookie to pick up the article and the dog out.
4. Build distance. I do not add a wait or stay I want excitement and enthusiasm so you are still holding.
5. Have someone place the article for you.
6. The dog is not holding the article you are still picking it up
7. I build distance, distractions, and turn and send before I have the dog pick up article.
8. Distractions - Person or people in articles, Food, Toys, Noise
9. Once I have said "Find It" I do not say anything till the dog is back to me. Quiet is what makes articles hard so I want the dog 100% use to and confident in their ability to find the cookie even if it is hard.
10. Dumbbell retrieve is done and proofing is done it is time to go on.
11. Work articles like the dumbbell retrieve. Hold and carry. Throwing it, Stationary with cookie then "Fetch."
12. Do articles like you have been except when the dog eats the cookie you will say your Fetch word "Fetch" Help them if they do not understand.
13. The steps here really depend on the dog but they will always retrieve an article from now on. I will begin to vary if the cookie is on the article but I want to have my fetch command out of the exercise.
Turn & Send
1. Must choose if you are going to do the turn and send or the turn and sit.
2. Turn and Send - "Find it"and turn. Hand is down at my side.
a. And the helper's job is to get the dog's attention on the cookie. We want a tight fast turn so work your foot work and keeping the dog close.
b. You may need to start with a cookie, turn then toss the food a few feet in front o f you. This depends on the dog.
3. Turn and Sit - "about" or "get it in" dog sits. "Find It" Hand is up in heeling position.
a. "About" Turn in place with food. About driving around and get them in a sit.
b. "Get it in" Turn the dogs head out as you turn into the dog, the dog bottom will follow the food.