Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Novice Obedience

Both Reagan and Riley are getting close to being ready to compete in Novice level obedience. I would say Riley is closer since her sit and down stays are more reliable. I am also hoping that I will be able to the higher levels with Riley eventually. We will see. Here is Riley going through all of the Novice level obedience exercises.

I have really enjoyed working with our obedience trainer, Kathryn Willis. Kathryn has nationally ranked Golden Retrievers (very difficult to do with Goldens), qualifies and competes at the National Obedience Invitational (very difficult to with Goldens being so popular in obedience), and has achieved a perfect score of 200 more than once (difficult for anyone at any level). I used to not care if my dogs were crooked or not precise. I just wanted my greyhounds to work happy, quickly, and smartly. Kathryn has been great for working on the little details and making it fun for the dogs.

15 comments:

houndstooth said...

I wish you lots of good luck as you start competing! A good trainer is worth her weight in gold!

Pam said...

Brilliant!
The F8 is especially great!

Aragon greyhounds said...

She is an excellent worker. Your about turns are awesome. How did you teach such a tight wrap around your body? Food?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Thanks everyone. Aragon, Kathryn is really big on cueing the dog so they aren't surprised by turns. I'm not expert with footwork and still practice on my own a lot, but ideally I take a small step with right foot, drop my eyes down and to the right. Stop swinging my right arm and hold it back a little. Cross left foot over, then turn the right foot around. Small step with left foot and continue heeling. She is really really big on not taking big steps into or out of the about turn.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Riley is looking really good. Looks like your greyhounds work happy, quickly, smartly, *and* precisely.

May I ask, what is the concept regarding rewarding from food (e.g. cheese) in the human's mouth? I've seen this done in obedience training but having never taken formal obedience, I'm just left wondering. Might be something I could start doing with Lucy in her rally training...?

Katie said...

What a nice working dog. Her hind end action on the figure 8 is fantastic.

I keep kicking around the idea of trying Luce in Novice. I need to get her to some run-throughs first though- I suspect we'll have some trouble with the stewards part of the figure 8. Fly-by french kissing anyone? Sigh.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Mutts, feeding from your mouth is great for fronts because it is coming from a centered location and encourages the dog to look at your face. If you pull treats from your pocket, your dogs is more likely to line up and look at pockets instead of your face.

I will also reward from the mouth on heeling because my trainer likes to use a lot of cues with her eyes and head turns... again it encourages them to look up at you.

French kissing the stewards would only give Luce's routine some personality and humor.... maybe a few lost points, but its worth it :-).

Tarmar said...

Wow, Jen, she is really looking good! You have come a long way with her in a relatively short time! Looking forward to seeing more!

jcp said...

I really enjoyed this post. Approx how long does it take to get a dog to these skill levels?

Pam said...

@jcp...
For most of us mere mortals, it takes YEARS! For Jen, about 18 months (or less)!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Thanks everyone... Pam you are too kind. :-) JCP, I have been training Riley for about 17 months, but it does depend on the dog, the handler's dedication, and your goals. I really want to score well when we finally compete... so I have cared about them being straight and precise. If you just want a qualifying score, you can get them ready much sooner.

gyeong said...

I'm glad someone is doing obedience with their greyhounds. That takes a lot of time and patience. I'm not sure who is lazier, me or my greys :)

Life With Dogs said...

It amazes me how far you have come. I have always considered my Greys impossible to train save for a couple of tricks. It's clear that I have not put in enough effort!

Shelly said...

Jen, you and your greys are such inspiration! Thanks for sharing all your tips and showing what greyhounds are fully capable of doing. Our girl, Ady Bea, passed her TDI Therapy Dog test last night with both my husband and I as handlers. We celebrated with ice cream! Now we're hoping to continue on with Rally and possibly obedience competition in the future. : )

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Shelly, big congrats to you, your hubby, and your greyhound for passing the Therapy dog test. I love hearing about other folks keeping busy with their greyhounds. Ex-racers enjoy being gainfully employed... not retired :-).