Author Topic: Last week of prep - what to do?  (Read 1444 times)

BoxerWB

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Last week of prep - what to do?
« on: September 20, 2008, 10:48:45 PM »
So except for a few "stations," Xena and I have the actual movements of Rally pretty well locked down.  Fine tuning could be done, but I'm not going to obsess over it at this point.

However, both at a backyard training session on Thursday (someone else's yard) and the Show 'N Go today, I had the issue that Xena's attention would wander.  The backyard wasn't as bad, and thankfully the landscape of that set up (grass and dirt) was much more like the situation we'll be in at Wine Country.  At the livestock pavilion for the Show 'N Go, Xena was like a bad Matt LeBlanc movie - Lost In Space.  Something caught her eye about the "kitchen" area (behind a door) and she wouldn't stop gazing off at it.  Even the command she normally snaps right to (come) was marginally effective.  She had been in a crate since 8:30am (and we ran through the course at about 2pm) - her wait at Wine Country will be shorter, but I still know I need help.

So I'm looking for tips on proofing against her space outs, helping with focus.

Tips on pre-course warm ups are also welcome... I tend to get nervous and take her in sort of "cold" during Show 'N Gos, which doesn't yield the greatest results. The good news is that she seems to have lost a little of her seriousness, so I'm able to get her more "up" by doing crazy praise during warm ups.

I keep reminding myself that the main goal of this outing is to see if she enjoys showing and that her liking should be the best possible outcome.. but I'm human, I'm a little competitive, and I really want a Q our first time out!  :blush:  I'm going to be mentally reminding myself that it's having a happy dog that matters, not the Q or titles... I think we'll be OK and if we don't Q but she acts happy, I know my disappointment will be very minor.
Julia
Delta 03/12
Dash 07/06
Shady 07/05
In my heart: Xena 03/10/03 - 02/16/12

BurningRiver

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2008, 09:01:25 PM »
Any parks nearby? I've found that parks are wonderful for distractions like balls, bikes, kids. :)
Jessica, Mia and Carter
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BoxerWB

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 09:24:07 PM »
Well Wine Country is at a park, but there are never balls, bikes or kids present.  Her distractions this weekend were much more vague, and harder to get away from, I think.  Like "there is something interesting about that room over there" or "there is a smell over here"
Julia
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Dash 07/06
Shady 07/05
In my heart: Xena 03/10/03 - 02/16/12

GypsyMystic

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2008, 11:15:47 AM »
OT a little - you are entered on Friday, right? We are in the conformation ring at 8:30, and the plan right now is that we are camping for the weekend. So, I will try to come watch you and Xena.
Margaret
Gypsy RE, NA, OAJ, OF, CGC  8/10/03
Mystic OA, OAJ, OF, CA  CGC 5/12/06
Stryker Can/UKC CH Winmere Only Time Will Tell CA 3/8/09
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Hanna Banana

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2008, 11:19:16 AM »
My advice for your first competition - Just go out and have fun.   Dont go in with the "Q" in your head.   Go in, have fun with your dog and if the "Q" comes along with it - then thats great.

My instructor says many people who start off get obsessed about qualifying, so bad that they overtrain and let it rule their routine, and just never have fun.   She tells us, when you learn to put the fun in with the routine, the Qs will come.      

Good Luck, and sure you will do fine!
Heather  - Mom to Hanna Banana & Kash

BoxerWB

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2008, 11:28:57 AM »
Heather - As you can see, I'm trying to keep the fun as the main goal:

Quote
I'm going to be mentally reminding myself that it's having a happy dog that matters, not the Q or titles... I think we'll be OK and if we don't Q but she acts happy, I know my disappointment will be very minor.

I'm trying to figure out what prep I can do pre-show that would help out without overtraining or overdoing it.  Xena is actually quite good at doing the obstacles with very little training time put in, but we have trouble with the initial distraction of a new/interesting place.

Margaret - Yep, we're entered on Friday.  I'm going to be manning the timer for Rally from 8-10, so I'll have to miss your time in the ring, but I hope you're able to pop over and see us! And once I get Xena crated up, I'd love a chance to visit w/Mystic too!
Julia
Delta 03/12
Dash 07/06
Shady 07/05
In my heart: Xena 03/10/03 - 02/16/12

GypsyMystic

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2008, 12:46:04 PM »
I'm trying to figure out what prep I can do pre-show that would help out without overtraining or overdoing it.  Xena is actually quite good at doing the obstacles with very little training time put in, but we have trouble with the initial distraction of a new/interesting place.

I just checked out the schedule for Rally. It looks like you will have close to two hours(if not more) between when you are done working and when Xena will have her turn. I would spend a good portion of that just walking her around the rally area, maybe even wander over to agility and let her check things out over there. Maybe walk her around for an hour, put her back in the crate for 30 minutes,or so, to relax, then you might have a better idea of what time you might actually be going in. The judge may break for lunch before Nov A.

One of the things that I think, in hindsight, might have affected Gypsy's agility was I would always volunteer to work. I usually got scheduled for whatever was right before Novice, so there wasn't much time inbetween working and running to get some of her crazies out. Now, I don't commit to working ahead of time. If I get to a trial and they need help, I will work if I think it 'fits' my time frame. I know it's a little selfish on my part, but especially now that I'm trying to run two, that adds another whole layer to the 'getting ready' plan.
Margaret
Gypsy RE, NA, OAJ, OF, CGC  8/10/03
Mystic OA, OAJ, OF, CA  CGC 5/12/06
Stryker Can/UKC CH Winmere Only Time Will Tell CA 3/8/09
Carly  Mystic's baby 7/26/10
Abby  Stryker's baby 12/15/1

BurningRiver

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2008, 12:48:06 PM »
Honestly, the best way that I've found not to over train is to not practice between training classes. . . I go to class, that's the only work I do for the week, and when I was showing, I crammed right before the show. I proofed in every high distraction environment I could leading up to the weeks before the show (ie: the park, around schools, the pet store, etc) and then we showed.
Jessica, Mia and Carter
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BoxerWB

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2008, 07:55:31 PM »
M-  Yeah, I'm realizing my training director did me a very nice favor by giving me so much time before it's time to show.

Sounds like walking her around will be helpful... but I wonder about letting her sniff? That's our major bugaboo in normal training situations, too much sniffing and then I can't get her nose off the ground.  It seems like letting her sniff in one area but not the Rally area would be confusing... but I wouldn't want to let her get in the habit of sniffing in the Rally area and spend our time in the ring pulling her nose out the ground.
Julia
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Dash 07/06
Shady 07/05
In my heart: Xena 03/10/03 - 02/16/12

Renee

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2008, 10:28:46 PM »
Ditto Margaret - use the time to walk around at let her get a feel for the place.

And absolutely rule #1.  At a show, when my dog is out of the crate, 110% of my attention and consideration belongs to that dog.  Very little chat with friends (and if I do, I'm tugging or the dog is up on me goofing around ) it's all about that dog. 

And you'll learn to play with how long - Anja needs longer to prepare for competing right now than Josie, but less involved in preparing her to it's 100% individual to what that dog needs for focus.

Absolutely rule #2 - most first time competitors move at a slow pace of death making shaky focus issues worse, so keep your pace up and Boxer-responsive.

Absolutely rule #3 - focus on one station at a time (and ONLY one) so that you don't carry a glitch on a previous station to the next one.

Frequent rule #3 - praise immediately after a command sometimes solidifies the command and gets you out of a jam out there fast  - "Xena, lets' go!  Good Girl!" can often prevent a lag or return a loss of attention better than "Xena, let's GO...Xena....XENA...Lets GO..."  you get the picture.

BurningRiver

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2008, 06:52:16 AM »
Sounds like walking her around will be helpful... but I wonder about letting her sniff? That's our major bugaboo in normal training situations, too much sniffing and then I can't get her nose off the ground.  It seems like letting her sniff in one area but not the Rally area would be confusing... but I wouldn't want to let her get in the habit of sniffing in the Rally area and spend our time in the ring pulling her nose out the ground.

If the expectation is that she's "on the clock", then absolutely no sniffing is allowed. Her attention should be on you. If she's "off the clock", sniffing around is fine. Just make sure that you're being clear to her what you want her to do when - as Renee said, connect it to a verbal cue of, "Let's go" or "Here we go", or something along those lines. And obviously, let her know that she's on the clock right before you walk into the ring. Once I walk into a ring environment, whether it's in class our in the actual ring, my dogs are leash corrected for bait surfing on the floor or sniffing around (after a leash correction is given, we drill attention a bit).
Jessica, Mia and Carter
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tbs

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2008, 05:20:33 PM »
Sounds like walking her around will be helpful... but I wonder about letting her sniff? That's our major bugaboo in normal training situations, too much sniffing and then I can't get her nose off the ground.  It seems like letting her sniff in one area but not the Rally area would be confusing... but I wouldn't want to let her get in the habit of sniffing in the Rally area and spend our time in the ring pulling her nose out the ground.

I would only let her sniff to pee/poop. Otherwise sniffy not allowed, especially if you are having issue with it.

Knox(aka Knucklehead ~ 6.02.07) CGC RN

BoxerWB

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Re: Last week of prep - what to do?
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2008, 09:10:46 PM »
Sounds reasonable!

I tried the praise after command suggestion out in the front yard and it definitely helped.  A couple times I saw her start to put her head down after we started off on heel, but if I said Good Girl! right after, her head went up and her ears got all perky!  :2thumbsup:

Her right finish, which was never very strong, seems to have disappeared for today.  Not going to stress on it, since it may not even be in the course.. and she'll do it, it just might not be pretty.  I'll throw in a couple extra tries per session but that's all.
Julia
Delta 03/12
Dash 07/06
Shady 07/05
In my heart: Xena 03/10/03 - 02/16/12