Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Being Good Enough

At the last Rally match I took Seth to I felt somewhat deflated. The woman who would be judging our class was on the sidelines and said some pretty nasty [although honest] things about my handling. I tried to do what she told me would 'help' the situation and it didn't. That's really beside the point because I keep forgetting that I haven't taken ANY classes with Seth.

There have been many times on this journey that I have felt like I don't know what I'm doing. Everyone has an opinion and everyone is going to tell you that you're doing something wrong. Sometimes it's hard to take when the people telling you this information know more or have been at it longer, because you start to second guess yourself, and your dog.

It is then that I remember that I got a URO2 title on Seth, by myself. All of the people we have competed with are people who have taken many obedience classes, several of them obviously train together because they use the same signals and commands. All of these people also have dogs that are finished in AKC obedience/rally and are now moving onto UKC - so unlike me, none of this is new.

I'm very proud of Seth and I'm proud of myself. My friend Lynna did help start us on the path to obedience and showed us a few of the motions that would be required, but everything else was kind of just winging it. I remember our first Rally trial I knew NOTHING. Luckily there was a nice gal there willing to share her rule book and help me figure out the signs!

I still get stuck sometimes, and I am still intimidated a lot. Even though it's "just rally" I still feel very good that we have come as far as we have, the commands we use in rally can be applied to regular obedience and when I get more experience under my belt we may find ourselves in an obedience ring at some point. I guess what I'm saying, and why I wrote this post is to tell anyone out there reading this who can't afford a trainer, or doesn't have one nearby - use the internet! Read articles, watch videos! The point isn't to win, or get the highest score, the point is to have fun working with your dog, and if you get a chance to go to a trial - show off what the two of you have learned and accomplished!!

On that note, we have been working diligently on an attention heel. I will have video of Seppel eventually but he isn't nearly as far along as Seth is. I have NEVER taught a dog to 'watch me' while heeling, this is our first time. I have managed to get a couple of short clips with my phone, he's making progress!! We started practicing after reading this article: Tarheel k9 Attention Heeling

With Seth I did start with the food in my mouth... he just 'gets it' so quickly that we actually only used that method in one session. Both dogs had a good idea of eye-contact from a sit... I haven't specifically named it, most people say 'focus' or 'watch me'. I may put a name to it eventually, but they know in sit to give eye contact, and Seth is learning to give eye contact now while heeling.

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