I really have no experience with competition obedience....other then when I was a young girl and trained my Westie in obedience. It was the old fashioned training with a choke chain and I really do not remember anyone talking about motivating the dog, or looking at the dogs attitude. I had a good time, I hope my dog Bonnie did, but....it sure was not training I would do now.
A couple of years ago at the AKC national Invitational I watched the obedience because my aunt and her cocker spaniel were entered, and I watched the winner who had a golden retriever compete. That dog looked so happy, and so engaged and like he was having the best time of his life. I have always wanted to train a dog and have them enjoy it like that.
I know Sylvia Turkman trains lots of tricks and her number one criteria is the dog having fun, a dog who enjoys working and works fast and happy. I watched the trailer for her video, and thought it looked interesting, so I bought it. It runs about $58 bucks...depending on the exchange rate for that day-you pay through pay pal then as the last step in the payment process you just click and can download the video. Once you have downloaded the video you can keep it on your computer or burn it to a disk (which did take about an hour, ughghgh) and it is yours to keep.
LINK TO SYLVIAS WEBSITE:
I would love to have my dogs be able to compete in some obedience but if they are dragging along and looking like they do not enjoy it....it sure would not be worth it.
Sylvias method is teaching heeling like a trick. It is working with teaching the dog a lot of body awareness and a really solid understanding of the heel position. As an added bonus she shows how to use the training you do for heeling to do a back wards weave through your legs-the way she teaches it looks really neat, so I hope we get that as a side benefit, LOL.
Sylvia says the technique she uses is totally appropriate for young dogs, for tiny puppies, for old dogs and dogs that might already be heeling or competing in obedience. She also says that if you can teach heeling and get your dog happy and focused with that.....you should never have focus problems with anything like agility because if you can make that fun....you know everything you need to know t make something like agility that is naturally more fun....fun.
The technique she uses is actually quite simple,.....maybe not worth $60 unless you really want to learn it, EXCEPT that to watch her reward placement and how she increases the criteria-just the mechanics of a master shaper and trick trainer made the whole thing totally worth it to me. I was glad I shelled out the money, we have had a lot of fun with it. THE PART I TOTALLY APPRECIATE is that her criteria is how the dog looks, do they look like they are happy and enthusiastic, if not....it is not a success no matter how good they heel. That is why she trains it like it is all just one big trick-hey I LIKE that attitude.
We are only on the first few steps but oooh my gosh when I am out walking with the dogs I can see how they are totally using their bodies very differently after all this body awareness work we are doing. My dogs do a lot more sideways movements and instead of circling around and coming back to my side if they get ahead I noticed them sort of pivoting back into position-using their rear ends a lot more. How cool is that?
OK NOTHING NEW...but I did video our practice last night, doing our stairs. I found a new set of stairs, and the dogs are doing well. I was very pleased that even with a ton of distractions they all did fine. Poor Liz wanted to bag the back ward stairs-she says where will we use that or be able to show that off anyway???? LOL, so she finished up with just being engaged enough to do her tricks she loves! So this was the second session on stairs after our last video, so no huge progress, but definite progress and a chance for me to play with the video editing program!