So, lately I have been wondering where my obedience training is going. I have been thinking about and re-defining the obedience goals that I have or want to have for myself and my dogs. It used to be easy - earn some Rally titles and put a CD title on both of my dogs. Now, both dogs are 1 "Q" away from their Rally Advanced titles and Bosley earned his CD title way earlier than I had expected. With Maggie, I have been struggling with "ring issues". Both my dogs are young, and hopefully, I have many competitive obedience years with them.
I would love to put a CDX on Bosley. A title in Open Obedience seems so illusive; but then again, when I was just starting to train in Obedience, a Novice title seemed the same way. I would also like to work towards Bosley's Rally Obedience RAE title. Now that we are almost done his Advanced title, his Excellent title seems very attainable. An RAE title is much more challenging and will take quite a while as your dog must qualify 10 times in both the Advanced B class and the Excellent B class at the same trial.
For Maggie, I want her to love the ring as much as she loves practice. I think that she is totally capable of earning all her Rally titles as well as a CD title.
As I was trying to find some obedience inspiration, I came upon some great "training rules" that Sue Ailsby has on her website. These are my favorite (with a * beside the ones I like the most):
**Don't be afraid, just do it.
You must be physically and mentally comfortable to teach.
The student must be physically and mentally comfortable to learn.
Be aware of your own tendency to blame.
Be aware of your own tendency to punish.
**Never allow other people to set your priorities.
It isn't about whispering. It's about speaking clearly with your body and mind and then listening to the answers.
It is not my job to control the animal. It is the animal's job to control herself.
It is my job to put the animal in a situation where she can learn what I want her to know as quickly and easily as possible.
Rewards are defined by the student, not the teacher.
Learning is defined by the student, not the teacher.
**Work where the animal is, not where you expect her to be or where she "should" be.
The leash is to keep the animal from getting hit by a truck, not to control, punish or teach.
Give the animal a chance to think.
**"My dog won't..." and "My dog can't..." should be followed either by an alarm bell or a training plan.
It's all tricks, relax.
**Sit back and enjoy the ride.
To read the complete list of Sue Ailsby's training rules here.