Very proud of the boy again this week! We did lots of heeling drills, recalls, fig 8s and stand for exams this week. Pretty boring stuff, but the boy worked so well.
In my post last week, I made a couple of references to the "silly" dumbbell recall. Here's the story - in regular Open obedience, the dog must sit at the handler's side, and the handler throws the dumbbell when instructed to by the judge. The judge will then tell the handler to "send your dog" and the dog ideally fetches the dumbbell and returns to the hander and sits in front. Then the judge tells the handler to take the dumbbell and then instructs the handler to "finish" or have the dog return to heeling position.
The Graduate Novice class is meant to be an intermediate step between Novice and Open obedience. In GN, the dumbbell exercise is that instead of throwing the dumbbell, the handler gives the dumbbell to the dog, then leaves the dog and walks across the ring. When the judge instructs, the handler calls the dog (who is hopefully still holding the dumbbell, to front. The exercise is then finished the same way as the open exercise.
The silly part is getting the dog to take the dumbbell and hold it. Dumbbells are made to be fetched, not handed to the dog! Last week before class, I worked for a few minutes handing Spencer the dumbbell and then taking it right back and treating him. I got him to hold it a bit before the night was over.
The instructor told me to practice this past week while we were sitting around the house. Well, the dumbbell never made it out of the car! (Bad trainer, bad trainer ~popping my own leash~
Tonight while others were taking turns, we went over the side of the ring and worked with the dumbell. To jump to the best part of the story, in just a few minutes, he was taking the dumbbell, staying and holding it while I walked about 6 feet away, and then bringing it to front like a trooper!
This weekend we are entered in Rally two days in Atlanta. It's been a long time since we went into the Rally ring after actually practicing the week before!