Saturday, February 14, 2009


Oreo and I went to our small dog handling workshop this afternoon. When we got there we were handed these sequences:


I thought, "Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?" We have never done anything this complicated. I hoped we were up for the challenge.

The courses on the left, are "regular" course set ups. The ones on the right, are "teacup" style. Teacup is a division for dogs under a certain height, where the courses are tighter and the obstacles are shrunken. In this workshop, we were going to do the regular courses first, then switch to the teacup. This would show us how you need to adjust your handling when the obstacles are closer together.

Oreo was one of the larger dogs in this class! Only Oreo and one other dog were jumping 12 inches. All the other dogs were jumping lower, even down to 4 inches! So, this was a big change for us. We are used to hanging with border collies, collies, and shelties!

On our first run, we followed the "circle numbers". (Took me awhile to figure out why there were circle and squares on the diagram - duh!) I was worried about the tunnels being under the A-Frame and dogwalk, because Oreo has never seen that before. That was no problem for Oreo.


Second run, we followed the "square numbers". I knew this would be trickier, because we would be heading toward "the crowd". This always freaks Oreo out. When we got to jump 3, he lost focus. Then, when we got to the dogwalk, he kept going thru the tunnel. After the third try, I got him on the dogwalk, and he was good to go! We got through the very tricky jump handling at the opposite end of the building - more thanks to Lian! All the baby snake and serpentine practice paid off ~ again!

The instructor gave me some good advice. She told me to be sure to reward Oreo when he was near "the crowd", as soon as I got his attention. I rarely reward until the end of a sequence, so I will definitely remember to take the time to stop and do that.

When we switched to the "teacup" sequences, I thought Oreo and I might actually do better, because in our yard, I set our jumps really close together. This is the type of handling we do all the time.

Our "circle numbers" run was not so great. I felt like we were all over the place, and we had to go back to a couple obstacles. On our "square number" run, we went first. This was clearly the most difficult sequence of the day, especially numbers 4-10. Most people walked the course several times. I walked it once, thought "I'm just going to wing it, and see how I feel when Oreo is out here." I was thrilled when Oreo went up the dogwalk, instead of tunneling. He went over the jump, did a blind cross into the tunnel, and then we eased our way through the jump sequence, and finished without any mistakes. I don't know how we did it, but it felt really good.

When we got back to the start, someone said, "I don't want to go after her!" Then, I got a lot of compliments. What a lot of people said was, "He is so focused on you the whole time" and "You guys looked so smooth out there." That made me feel really good. It was a great way to end the workshop.


Diana said...

Thats so great! Good for your guys!! Diana

Ludo van puppy said...

That looks so confusing, I'm never gonna understand how to do the courses. lol! Well done you and Oreo though, bet you were really chuffed.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Congratulations! You and Oreo had a great day yesterday - we're really proud of you impressing everybody in your seminar like that! But we knew you could do it!

Dawn said...

Wow! The course do look really confusing! Especially all the jumps so close together in the teacup. Isn't it cool to get compliments from people who watched you work together! I swear we don't realize how much our dogs really are focused on us when we're working. Probably Oreo felt just as out of place as you, and you were his "go-to" person to figure it all out. Hence the focus! Did he go home and sleep when it was all over? Or did he spend time explaining it all to Misty?

Sara said...

Oreo came home, happily greeted Misty, had his dinner and cookie, proceeded to the couch, then to bed where he slept until the sun came up.

Lian said...

Those courses look very interesting, I would like to run that with my boys and see what they perform. Glad the baby snake helps Oreo in some jumping sequence. I am sure you have learned a lot at the seminar.