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Abby Starts Training

More accurately, Jim has started training Abby. Sort of. Trying, at least.

Some of you know that I had the first Obedience Trial Champion (Merlin, a/k/a Astolat’s Myrddin Emrys) in the Rocky Mountain area of the USA. I am also an AKC obedience judge (emeritus…meaning "effectively retired"). So you’d think that I might know a tad about training. But there’s no evidence that’s true ;)

I actually started taking Abby downstairs to our guest bedroom (which is filled to overflowing with uninventoried SheltieRescueMall.com product, donated dog food, and other things) to be away from the other dogs who would bother us. And I’ve been working on training her. Some company donated a half-ton (literally) of very special salmon dog treats, and Abby loves them, so I use them as the reward/motivator. We’ve been working mostly on "down". She shows evidence some of the time that she gets it, but other times she acts like she’s never heard the word. And I’m so anxiety-ridden about all of this that I get frustrated easily. Which, as you all know, is not the right frame of mind when trying to train a dog.

Anyway, we’re working at it.

On Friday last, we went to the first session of an agility course we’re taking. Cynthia set this up (and originally planned to teach it, but her instructor Edie volunteered to do it). The first class was mostly getting to know one another (and I was very happy that I already knew Cynthia, as well as Marie and Layla ). Edie talked to us about the foundation skills that we need to know, emphasizing that her viewpoint is that training the actual equipment for agility is easy and doesn’t need nearly as much attention as "between the equipment".

Her focus is on the dog paying attention to the handler at all times. If the dog’s focused on the equipment (which is pretty much self-rewarding for many dogs), then there’s far too much chance of the dog running a course that he invents for himself instead of the prescribed course.

Abby seemed to understand that we were there for some special reason and that it required her to pay at least some attention to me. Of course, she also spent some of her time leaping more than three feet (about a meter) off the ground hoping to be allowed to go play with the other dogs (especially Layla). But since that class, she seems to have a different attitude around the house; she’s much more willing to come to me immediately when I call her and seems to try to listen to me and understand what I’m saying.

Anyway, we’ve got almost two weeks before the next class, so I can spend some quality time with Abby working on those foundation skills!

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2 comments to Abby Starts Training

  • I was so glad that you decided to bring Abby out on Friday! :-) She was a really good girl, especially with such a wiggly distraction like Layla right next to her!

    Interesting that Abby’s attitude has already changed at home since the class. That’s awesome. She’s a quick study, and even though you seem to be doubting yourself, I know that you’ve got all the basic common sense training stuff down already, so you two are already ahead of the game in that regard.

    I’m excited to hear how training progresses. I sure wish I was closer so that I could be at the class each week!

  • Good Luck with your training…. I actually have a Jack Russell that I would love to train in agility. He is extremely fast and LOVES to run. The problem is there isn’t really anywhere around here that I know of to train.

    Keep us updated on the training.

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