So Artemis and I have progressed to the next level of obedience class: mixed ability. Different owners, different dogs, and different commands.
There was a little break after the last beginner class, so some dogs kind of forgot some things and were acting up a little today.
So a dog was put in time out, where the dog is tied to a post and the owner ignores them. This allows the dog time to calm down because they’re not cooperating or responding to commands, so the dog can basically sit and chill for a little while.
Meeting other dogs
This was new – we did heel work walking around an area; but instead of everyone walking closewise, some walked anti-clockwise. So as you’re doing heel work, walking person to person, you’re meeting other dogs.
This increases the difficulty, as your dog is interested in the other dogs but your dog needs to stay in the heel position against your left leg.
I had a reminder on “about turn”, which is where you turn clockwise 180 and continue walking. I had been stopping, turning, then walking.
I was reminded to continue walking as I turn. My thought process was that I need time to process the command, and the trainer responded that I can continue walking while processing.
Sometimes the command is “about turn”, which is a clockwise 180 turn; and other times the command is “double about turn”, which is two clockwise 180 turns. So I need to practise that.
This class we practised a more advanced stay command. In the beginner classes, the dog would be in a down position on your left and you walk around in front of your dog in a semi circle so the dog is on your right, and then walk back round again to the starting position.
Today, the dog was in a down position, and then you just wandered about and stood next to other dogs. I found it really odd to be chilling next to another dog!
The aim is to keep your dog in your peripheral vision and so the dog can still see you and continue in their stay. Then you go back to the left of your dog, take a small step to the right, step back near your dog, treat whilst still in the down position, then praise and release.
As we were doing this, one dog went absolutely haywire: this dog was running across the field all over the place. This dog also had a good sniff of Artemis, as it was the first time they met. It reminded me of when I walk Artemis in the park and other dogs are off lead doing whatever they please.
The issue was that the owner called the dog to come, and as he was just about to grab the lead, the dog would run again! So the trick was to leave the gated field, and the dog would wonder where the owner went then go towards the gate following, and the owner asked the dog to sit and as he opened the gate he grabbed the lead before the dog had another chance to run again. That was eventful!
We also learnt a couple of finishes. You get the dog to sit and then you stand in front of the dog in the present position ie facing your dog.
The German finish is getting the dog to go towards your left, ending in the heel position with your dog facing the same way as you – Artemis did that really well.
Next was the English finish. Again, you get the dog to sit and then you stand in front of the dog in the present position.
This time, you get the dog to go towards your right, go around behind you, all the way round, ending in the heel position. The trainer said she remembers it by thinking the Germans take the shortcut, whilst the English take the long way round.
Artemis did it really well the first time. I kind of stooped with the treat as I was luring Artemis to go around behind me, and the trainer advised I didn’t need to stoop with the treat because Artemis isn’t that short.
We also practiced the wait command with the five steps and to add an extra bit of difficulty we counted to five seconds in the last step of the wait command, and then came back to the dog. This didn’t appear to phase Artemis at all.
Learning lots today and learning extra steps to increase the difficulty of the commands that we already know. Lots to practise at home!