Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Obedience Title

Riley finished her Companion Dog obedience title last Saturday with a first place and a score of 195.5 out of 200 in the Novice B class. We won a leather leash and $5. That makes Riley my second greyhound to earn money (Travis won $200 once). $5 was such a funny amount because it did not even cover the cost of the entry fee. Ha! But it was fun and appreciated. The Companion Dog title or CD is earned with three qualifying scores in the Novice class. A qualifying score is 170 or better.
I am really pleased with all three of our performances. Not only did she qualify in our first three attempts, but she did so with scores ranging from 194.5 to 195.5 and at three different venues. In the past, I was always happy to just qualify with a happy and willing greyhound usually in the high 180's. Katie and Travis were always crowd pleasers, but I avoided working on details because I felt it might be demotivating for my canine partner if I nitpicked. We easily qualified, but not without lots of of half and one point deductions for being crooked, off center, or out of place.
About a year ago, I attended a seminar that taught training the details using a clicker. I finally had a good technique for explaining and rewarding the tiny details. Riley is the first greyhound I have actually worked on straight fronts (recall to a sit in front of handler) and finishes (return to heel position). We also worked very hard on heeling. I learned how to give Riley little cues that tell her what is happening next so she stays in position. It has really paid off.
Now on to Open level obedience. Riley is well started on Open obedience exercises. She can retrieve a dumbbell on the flat and over a high jump. She is well started on the broad jump and drop on recall. The big hurdle will be the three minute sit stay with the handler (me) out of sight. Lots of practice ahead. Obedience trial photos by Dee Leclair.