This morning we went to a CKC sanction match to work on our obedience. I entered both dogs in Novice B (we really should be in Novice A, but if you have 2 dogs in the same trial you have to go in B). It was a nice day, outdoors and in a new place - which was perfect - we need more practice in new places. Bosley went first and I was amazed with his heeling. He had a couple of sniffs on the ground, but was mostly very focused on me. I did not follow the rules strictly and I gave him some "good dog" encouragement. He got 35/40 on his on-leash heel and 38/40 on his off-leash. His recall was also good and he scored 29/30. On the stand for exam, he moved to follow me when I gave him the stay command, so I went back and replaced him, so we failed that exercise. But he didn't move after that and let the judge examine him without barely looking at her. In our long stays, he laid down during the sit-stay. I don't think he has ever done that before. Anyway, I was very happy overall with his performance. I have been practicing with him by leaving cookies in his crate and then when he is doing really well he gets to run back and get them. I did this today before we went in the ring, and I think it is really helping him focus. He knows that he will get his cookies for doing a good job. Maggie was next in the ring. Wow, was she scatter brained today. I don't think I warmed her up enough before we went out. She was so busy looking around and sniffing that she barely paid attention to me. She did stay with me, but was not really into it. She scored 32/40 on her on-leash heel and 31/40 on the off-leash heel. Her stand for exam was good and she scored 30/30 and she had a good recall scoring 29/30. Maggie often lays down on her long sits and today was no exception. It was kinda like her and Bosley had it planned. They were sitting next to each other in the ring and then, as if on cue, they both laid down at the same time.
I think I am going to start using the "treat in the crate" with Maggie. I am not sure it will work as well with her because she is not as focused on the cookies as Bosley is. She really has a tendency to "blow me off" if there is something more exciting going on. I need to find a way to keep her focused on me and make obedience really fun for her. For Bosley, I need to work on his stand-stay. We do not practice this very much at all. I think we are on the right track using the cookies-in-the-crate. In practice I need to start varying the length of time he has to work before getting his cookies, so that he stays focused on working for a longer period of time. There is always something to work on.
I just wanted to add one more tidbit from the day. Early in the day, before everything got started, I left Maggie in her crate (which was in our shade tent) and I took Bosley out for a quick walk so he could get used to the new place. Suddenly I heard someone yell "Loose Dog"! I saw some movement behind me so I turned to take a quick look at the runaway pooch and thought to myself "Hey, someone else has a Bernese here too". I looked again and that runaway dog was Maggie. She pushed her way through the zipper opening of her crate and came running out to find us. So now that she has figured out how to get out of her crate, I will need to be more careful and close the zipper all the way.
This picture of Maggie is one that Wendy took a few months ago. Normally I can leave the zipper open and she will just stick her nose out and watch what is going on. Yesterday, the zipper was only open a teeny bit, not near as much as in the picture. I guess she figured if Bosley was out, she should be out too.