To both the recommendtation of Jet’s breeder Synve, and to the kind invitation of the seminar’s event organiser Inge, we drove to Gnesau on a beautiful sunny day at the beginning of June. The seminar was held by the local dog school and was instructed by the FMBB 2012 Obedience Word Champinship winner Doro Seidenschmied. I looked forward to the semi with quite a lot of excitement and hoped to get a lot of motivation and inspiration from Doro that would help to develop our obedience performance.
Jet is 7,5 months old now therefore she is a real beginner in any dogsport. The same as in agility, I focused so far on the foundation training of obedience too. I tought her very basic excercises – sit, down, stay, come, etc…that basically any dog should know – more or less I neglected to teach the proper performance and body position of these excercises in this stage of the training. I strived to make her love these kind of excercises and the work with me. From my point I wanted to see what way of trianing works well, how can I get Jet to work with high drive and motivatation in performing excercises that are far from her natural behaviour. Using positive reinforcement through clicker trianing proved to be a great tool here, too. At the moment, I percieve obedience work as sequence of tricks so I break down the excercises to tiny peaces and teach them separately with clicker.
So with this “past in obedience” we participated in Doro’s seminar, where tiny imperfections turned up immediatelly right at our first performance. To an experienced eye it is easy to point out mistakes that I would never even think about. I was advised not to touch and pet Jet with hand as much as I do it. Doing this makes the dog interrupted in concentration therefore it damages the quality of her work. Doro also told me to not to use Jet’s name that much for asking her attention. An obedience dog – and anyway it is true for agility too – have to react to pure commands immediatelly, without warning her by saying her name first. From our performance of heeling excercise and the notes I got from Doro I faced the mistake I often make on the training course: I do not define exactly the end performance I want to see in an excercise when I teach it for Jet. It highlighted again that every training session needs detailed preparation, I need to know what I want from that training exactly, and how I can achieve that. Only the heeling excercise adds up from numerous small details and heeling is only one excercise in a whole obedience sequence. To be aware of all this details, teaching the dog to perform all that – moreover doing all this to keep the dog’s motivation on a high level by giving the dog the impression that the training actually is nothing but a super game… well, I think that is the beauty of dog training.
The seminar gave me a lot of inspiring moment regarding very basic foundamentals of dog training, but also I had a chance to catch obedience training tricks from a real pro that surely will help to go on with our traning. Last but not least watching Doro and her malinois Baggio”s demo closley is something unforgettable.
It was a great day with lot of learning and laughing while I managed to get to know many nice Austrian doggy-people too:-)