Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Schutzhund workshop

This weekend our club did an intensive training workshop, tracking in the morning and then working protection and obedience in the midday and agility in late afternoon. It was also an intensive workout for the handlers! as I had two dogs to work multiple times each. Sunday, we also used Laev as the barking dog in a puppy circle, so that was two extra sessions for her and me -- totaling five protection sessions on Sunday alone. We're tired!

At least, *I* am tired. Laev was totally fine by Monday morning.

Anyway, the weekend's sessions showed Laev's hold and bark achieving a new success rate high of 88%, according to my recorded data. That includes varying the angle and distance of approach and opening the gates partway instead of having them totally closed. Huzzah!

That also demonstrates the need for a Schutzhund *club* as opposed to training at home; we had one helper in the blind, two people working the gates myself on the dog's lines (sometimes someone else will handle the lines, necessitating another person), one person sometimes holding Laev's collar so I could send her from a angle other than where I stood, and a person tracking my data. Whew!

Laev absolutely stops better on the leather than on the prong collar, now that she knows the collar is a cue to stop. I think the prong stimulates her to jump the gate for the helper! She also works better on light pressure rather than on strong; because I've never relied on collar and leash to control her, she has no punishment callous and can think through light contact rather than needing heavy (and stimulating) pops on the leash. She still has more conflict on the outs than I'd like, but we're working on that. It was better this weekend.

Most of the club does not pursue agility competitively, so we didn't do a lot of that, just some jumping courses. Laev is something of a klutz in her jumping (she isn't sure if she should be watching me or not and so jumps awkwardly) but that will change with experience. She did stay with me around the course, which was nice. :-)

Her tracking, after being so wonderful the previous weekend, was sloppy on Sunday. Ugly start, frantic on the track itself, and skipped articles. Shakespeare was the same way, though, and I haven't seen him miss an article in six months! I can't say why that was so.

No comments: