October's obedience lesson

I had a very productive lesson this morning, and I'm feeling really encouraged that we're making progress. We haven't been for 2 months and the trainer said she thought we'd really improved (I don't think she was trying to flatter me!)
We spent most of the time on turns and pivots, as in the last rallyonline competition I lost 5 marks on the left pivot. Much of this was sorting out my feet - I need to glue my knees together and march on the spot as I turn - and my hand position on my left hip. She also told me that if I felt Molly start to lag I was slowing down and together we were grinding to a halt, whereas if she starts to lag I need to speed up. I know she's told me these things before, but I seem to need to have them repeated to me. We worked partly while looking in a large mirror and that was useful. I tend to want to look down at Molly to make sure she's in position but I did manage to start looking ahead and at one point when I stopped, staring ahead, I said, 'Where is she?' and the answer was, 'Sitting at your heel where she should be.' Bless her cotton socks.

The trainer is encouraging me to continue to feed very frequently during heel-work and has suggested I do a lot of 'sit, two steps, feed, sit', to really reinforce that heel position. I feel cross with myself that I was so determined to drop the food for heelwork too quickly. Silly really as for 'down' I reinforced very heavily over a long period and Molly has a rock solid down stay now.

After the lesson I stopped on the Downs on the way home so Molly could have a relaxing amble and sniff. Interestingly she several times brought herself into heel position by choice (not just walking by my side but the close, nose-up position we'd practised) even though I had no treat visible. I did rummage in a pocket to find a reward.


Queen of Turnips
Devon, UK
That sounds like strong progress @Joy, you should be pleased with yourself and Molly. I think most people need things repeated, I certainly do - especially in training where there are so many things to take into account. For me, repetition is definitely part of the process :)
Sounds great :)
I'm going to start some obedience heeling with my lot. I've decided to do my first ROL comp at the next session (I might be PMing you to find out how it all works!) and having seen some Denise Fenzi stuff on precision heeling, I think my lot would enjoy it. I have always been quite anti for a couple of reasons:
  • It looks like it puts strain on the dog to look up like that;
  • In gundog stuff, you want the dog to look forwards.
However, now I think that, whilst it's true it's an exaggerated position, it's only being asked for for a few paces at a time, not for a long walk - so I can't see it's any more harmful than any other dog sports where you're putting impact on different parts of the body.
And as for the looking forwards, dogs are very contextual; Squidge always looks at me a lot when she's walking just as a matter of course, but put her in a retrieving situation and her eyes are exactly where they should be.
@snowbunny Yes, do have a go at the next ROL competition. Actually for rally the dog doesn't have to be looking up - the rules say they have to be within arms length, at a consistent distance (so not touching you at one point and a foot away the next) and, if on lead, that the lead must never be tight. I'm encouraging Molly to look up because it's a way of getting her to do a more active movement and maintain concentration, otherwise she tends to amble along with her nose on the floor! As you say it's for about 90 seconds so a very short time.
Have you seen the new signs? Sally from ROL says that they will be used in the next competition.
Yes, I've seen them, but I haven't printed them yet. I don't have a laminator, but I'll see what I can do with them.

Do they have to be on a lead for Level 1? Just with my lot not being used to leads, it may make it more awkward - and I'm more likely to fumble if I'm holding a lead. @bird will tell you how rubbish I am with them.... "Sooooo.... you don't use leads much, do you?" :cwl:
Do they have to be on a lead for Level 1?
Yes unfortunately they do - and for level 2. Molly is much better off-lead too - she's been known to grab the lead half-way round the course! :facepalm: I need one more level 2 excellent and then I can move on to level 3 which is off-lead. (You can enter 2 levels on-line, but has to be the lowest you are eligible for and the next one up.)
Oooh, so I can work through levels 1 and 2 at the same time? I need to do some reading but I don't find the website particularly well put-together for newbies. The parkour one is so much better.
It's not a very user-friendly site is it? Yes, you can do 2 levels at once and you need either 6 qualifying or 3 excellent scores to graduate out of a level. So theoretically after three shows you could be on to level 3. I was infuriated with myself this time as apart from forgetting to take Molly's collar off and on for level 3 (which I didn't have time to do again), I also had to do level 2 twice as the first time I stood the camera operator in the wrong place!
It has to be videoed in landscape and once the video starts you and the dog have to be fully in shot at all times.
Ella is another one that's better off lead. I often find that she'll end up with her legs on the lead when she does a drop. Then she'll either stand up too quickly (because she's a princess and "her leg touched something!") Or she'll end up tangled when we start heeling to the next sign 🙄.

Although, she did break, pick up a toy and do zoomies around the ring on Sunday when we were practising a course at dog club. I kind of wish I had it on video as it was quite funny (everyone watching thought so 🤦)
@Joy another question, sorry! On the results page (Previous Courses) it has "Level One Part 1", "Level One Part 2", "Level One Part 3". Could you explain what those parts mean, please?
If the number of entries for any level is large, Sally spilts it into smaller classes which are labelled 'parts' . You don't know which 'part' you will be allocated to - I assume it is done randomly.

Just looked up the kennel club regs (rallyonline isn't recognised by the kc but I know Sally tries to make it conform as closely as possible.)
It says:
'a judge may not judge more than 50 dogs per day. If the entry received exceeds 40, the class may be equally divided (to within one dog) by a draw and the class split into equal parts.'