Saturday, June 27, 2009

Luther's Next Adventure

I didn't have the opportunity to write about this sooner, with my worry over Sabrina. Luther & I are embarking on a new adventure - rally obedience! I have not been on the other end of an obedience leash in over a decade! I hated the stresses of the obedience ring, though I did put CDs on 2 dogs.

My first, "Damian", whom I ILP'd as Goldhoff Damian Debonaire CD CGC TDI (9/21/92-6/18/99), was a shelter rescue Dobe whom I took to an obedience class just to be able to live with him. It was this dog that introduced me into the world of purebred dogs. We lost him way too soon to Cardiomyopathy.

I was burned out by "military style" obedience and that is where I found enjoyment in the conformation ring. I did enjoy watching Rally at the National. I think it is much more natural to be able to talk to your dog while working as a team.

I think Luther's likes this too!

Last Monday was our first basic obedience class with a local obedience club. I am so proud of my boy. In the past, before I decided this is what I wanted to do, I did try to use the food method to lure him into a sit. Luther is so well trained to stand and bait for the show ring, he was getting frustrated with me and not understanding what I wanted.

I taught him to sit in minutes by gently pulling up on the leash with my right hand and using my thumb and fore finger of my left hand to put a light pressure just ahead of his hips, both at the same time while commanding "sit". He was then praised for being a good boy.

We also started heeling. In class we only heeled in a big circle. 1. I got dizzy. 2. It was boring.

When practicing our home work, without using food, when Luther was lagging I to talk to him to keep him up with me. If he started to forge ahead, I did an "about turn" to keep his attention. It is working well! A friend suggested that I heel in a zig zag. It definitely keeps it more interesting than a circle.

Our instructor told us to do our homework for 30 minutes each day. Cardigans are way too smart and would quickly hate obedience if you worked them that long. I am training Luther 5-10 minutes a day with great results! In the first practice session he started sitting automatically when I stop. Lots of praise makes Luther a happy dog.

I also am not fond of using my back yard as the sole training area. When I can, I like to work my dog in public places. On Wednesday morning we trained in the truck stop parking lot. Diesel engines and Leonard busy doing the pretrip inspection on his tractor-trailer make good distractions.

After we practice, we get to play. Luther only gets his new sheep toy after our homework to keep this special.


Kim said...

Rally is my absolute favorite! Casper's too!

Luther will have his RN in no time!

penni said...

I think Rally helps dogs later in obedience work. They become so used to paying attention to you because something happens every few steps. For practice we do "doodles" around the house, a quick "come front", a heel around the dining room table, a drop, a cookie, good dog -- and it's over. I never warn them that we're going to doodle. We just do it -- and they love it!

Luther will so look forward to his Rally time! Chase and I both think it's more fun that conformation!

Traci said...

I love Rally too! :) I need to get on getting the other two legs of Kota's RE! LOL I'm a slacker. LOL I started over a year ago! LOL

Have fun in Rally with Luther!! It's a good time!! :)

Léo said...

The whole point is to have fun, isn't it? :-)

Dawn Small said...

Hi Holly,
I totally agree that 30 minutes a day is too long for homework. Cardis are too smart and bore too easily for that kind of drilling. I've also noticed that when Ian does something right I have to stop practicing that element for the day. If I don't, he figures he must have done something wrong and he'll try something different. Just goes to show they're thinking! I don't work Ian for more than 5-10 minutes a day (except for his class once a week), and he earned his CD in November and is close to being ready to compete for his CDX. He's a happy worker and can't wait to "go practice."

Good luck with Luther's training, and have fun!

Holly said...

Dawn, you are so right about not drilling an exercise that they have correct. Congrats on your CD and good luck on your CDX!

Anonymous said...

PJ and I had fun with Rally, Frost will now start working on some of the exercise and hopefully we will be ready by fall.