obedience show tips

Discussion in 'Obedience' started by Puppypal, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. Puppypal

    Puppypal Registered Users

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    So since puzzle and i have our first obedience show in 2 weeks time i thought i might ask for tips to help us both get through the experience.

    I have never done any obedience shows, always been novelty or handling classes so this is a very different kettle of fish.

    We have been trying to put in as much practice as possible, especially heelwork and our present but she is improving, she is only doing basic things including:
    heel on lead
    recall (no finish)
    1/2 min sit stay
    1/2 min down stay

    is for our first obedience show

    then this lot for our second show
    Circle of heelwork
    recall (no finish)
    fun retrieve

    The second one will be easier to do but by then we should have a good idea of what to expect.

    we have been trying to do as much training as possible at the local park with distractions and not using food until the end of the exercise when we have a little play so she knows that we have finished.
     
  2. Merla

    Merla Registered Users

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    Re: obedience show tips

    So, I'm sure actually you know most of the technical-type tips. Potentially the heelwork is the hardest thing, and the 'top tip' for that is making sure your own footwork is sharp and neat (particularly turns) so the dog has a sharp target to follow. Similarly for the other activities, keep your arms, hands and legs neat, and she'll have more chance of doing the same. I bet you do that already though.

    The biggest tip is also the hardest to follow- try not to care too much how it turns out! Shows are busy and often noisy. The ring, when you get in it, is your (and Puzzle's) little haven of space. Probably not everything will go as planned -possibly nothing will go as planned! Keep your cool, and your sense of humour, and exit the ring with a big smile at the judge regardless of what has gone before. Then give Puzzle a massive hug and treat, as it will be a big step for her. The people who embarrass themselves at shows are not the ones whose dogs don't do everything they should (all dogs have bad days) they're the ones who lose their dignity. And this is true of everything from tiny exemption shows to top level.

    OK, preaching over. Rachael and others will be along shortly with something much more helpful I suspect!

    Massive good luck, and let us know how it goes.
     
  3. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Re: obedience show tips

    [quote author=Merla link=topic=5154.msg64885#msg64885 date=1396208365]
    The people who embarrass themselves at shows are not the ones whose dogs don't do everything they should (all dogs have bad days) they're the ones who lose their dignity. And this is true of everything from tiny exemption shows to top level.
    [/quote]

    Top tip! Never done dog shows, but done plenty of horse shows and this is very true! Smile, say "s/he did well for her/his first time out" - regardless of whether you came first or last.

    Good luck, good luck , good luck. :) :) :)
     
  4. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: obedience show tips

    No tips from me, just wanted to say good luck and enjoy ;D
     
  5. Jen

    Jen Registered Users

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    Re: obedience show tips

    Sorry annabelle I haven't got a clue about obedience shows but I wanted to say good luck. I'm sure puzzle will do you proud and if it doesn't go quite to plan she'll look gorgeous anyway. :D
     
  6. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: obedience show tips

    Great to hear that this is coming up soon. I'm sure you'll find it a really useful and positive experience :D

    Totally agree with Merla's advice. With the heeling footwork, practise heeling without your dog. Work on going in a straight line (look at a fixed point in the distance) and face straight ahead, standing straight. Make your corners proper right angles but with a curved corner, so Puzzle can keep up (especially on right turns she she needs to travel further than you). Act confident, as if you know your dog will be with you the entire way.

    Don't feel you need to give you cues the millisecond the judge says to. Make sure Puzzle's attention is on you first.

    During the stays look at Puzzle the whole time. If a dog breaks, or a bird lands, or a herd of dinosaurs stampedes by, don't look at it. If you look at it she will think it worthy of attention too. Just keep gazing at her, no matter what.

    The judge is judging your handling, as much as they are judging the dog's ability. That just means being positive in everything you do with her. Also, don't be afraid to 'fix' little things - for example, in our obedience test yesterday I could see that Obi was going to come in to me a little bit crooked on the recall over the jump, so I took a couple of extra steps back as he came closer to straighten him before he stopped. You might lose a point for one thing but gain a point for responding to your dog and getting a good end position for the dog. I also had to do a few thigh slaps to get him back when he went to say hi to the judge in the heeling - not a problem, and it got his focus back quickly. So, don't be afraid to do that stuff.

    But don't be too quick to repeat a cue :) If you halt in the heeling and she doesn't sit automatically, give her a moment. Yesterday in our down stay one dog shifted onto her other hip but the handler thought she was going to get up. The handler quite crossly shouted out 'STAY' and the judge immediately started writing (the handler lost points not only for giving an extra and unneeded cue, but for using an angry tone and punishing the dog for doing nothing).

    However Puzzle does on each exercise, praise her and be delighted. It's a new context and you want to create a positive association with being in the ring. Once your turn is over, give her a massive jackpot reward out of the ring, no matter what.

    Try to just imagine that it is just like any old class. Just relax as much as possible and remind yourself that it's just a game with your dog, not a G20 summit. You might make a mistake, but it doesn't matter. Others will make more mistakes - I absolutely promise!!!! It's wonderful that you're having a go with Puzzle and it shows your dedication to her :)
     
  7. Puppypal

    Puppypal Registered Users

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    Re: obedience show tips

    Thanks for all the tips and support :) really appreciate it.

    Just one last question: What would be the most sutible lead and collar to use?
     
  8. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: obedience show tips

    Are there any rules about what to use? Usually a flat collar and lead would be used. If you are going to change what she's wearing, just do a bit of practice with it before the day :)
     
  9. Puppypal

    Puppypal Registered Users

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    Re: obedience show tips

    no rules is the show guides, she has a new flat collar that we got the other day cause she did not look girlie enough so had to get a pink one ;D. I will have to hunt out a normal lead as most of our ones are either training leads or slip leads, i think we have one somewhere
     
  10. Naya

    Naya Registered Users

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    Re: obedience show tips

    Good luck Annabelle xx
     

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