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Saturday, February 12, 2011

For The Love Of Obedience

I really love formal obedience.  When Maggie was a puppy, I took her to puppy class then to a basic manners class.  It was fun and I learned a lot.  But then, I took a set of lessons that was more formal - formal heeling, fronts, finishes and attention to detail.  I loved it!  My quest to compete in obedience had begun.  When I was talking to Bosley's breeder about what I was looking for in a dog, I told her I really wanted a dog that I could compete in obedience with - I knew that was something I wanted to do.

I hear so many people say that formal obedience is boring.  It is too "formal", too many rules, too picky.  I don't think it is boring at all.  I love the attention to detail.  I love the problem solving to figure out what will work for my dog.  It is challenging, it is sometimes frustrating, but at the same time it is highly rewarding.  There is nothing better than the feeling of having my dog prancing beside me in a perfect heel - every move is like a well co-ordinated dance.

In this little city that I live in, very few people share my love for this sport.  But, there are a few of us.  There is a small group of us who get together every week to train.  It is very informal - no instructor- just a group of enthusiasts with a common love and a common goal.  We help each other and give each other feedback and suggestions.  I learn so much from observing the other teams and helping them problem solve.

As for where Bosley is currently at in his training, I think he is doing well.  We are getting ready to go back in the Open ring for another try.  I am actually really looking forward to it.  Bosley has been very enthusiastic about obedience lately and we really seem to be in sync.  I am working hard on his anticipation (which is what failed us in our last trial).   He is getting lazy on his out of sight sits, so I am trying to find something to keep him more focused during them.

I have also been dabbling in Utility training.  His articles are coming along well.  He is happily retrieving the metal article now.  I am working on him scenting the metal articles and he is doing good, as long as I only do 3 or 4 repetitions at a time.

I have started "Seek Back" work.  I am really trying to figure this out by trial and error.  In AKC obedience, they have a directed retrieve, so there is tons of info on how to train that.  In CKC there is no directed retrieve, but instead, there is the "Seek Back" exercise.  No info on the internet or in books on how to train it - so I am just making up my own version.  So far, so good.  Bosley is happy to run out and bring back the glove - but of course I am only walking a short distance after I drop it, so it is still in plain sight.
I have a plan for teaching the Go Out, but I haven't started training it yet.  This seems to always be a tough exercise for dogs to learn, so I want to take my time and do it right.

Bosley is such a good obedience dog.  He tries hard to figure out new things and really tries hard to be right.  I also use minimal corrections in my training, so he is never worried to try something new.  He is a great obedience dog :)


  1. Great post Kim!
    I feel exactly like you..LOVE obedience!!!!
    I do not think it is too picky, or there are too many rules...I think people that think that, like easy titles that they don't have to put so much work into....Bosley looks awesome with his utility articles :))
    We can all work on the go outs & seek backs together!, I'm sure Amanda has some good ideas for them as well :))

  2. So you've convinced me Kim, i've been letting the idea soak in all week and I figure i might as well try doing obedience with Izzie (and i've already looked into what it'll take to get her CKC event number in case we want to try competing). I don't want to miss out on something that Izzie very well might like!

    However i have no clue what it involves or how to train it, since Izzie is my first real dog of my own to train.

    So how do i get started in the wonderful world of Obedience?

  3. Hi Kim, I just came across your blog - and am always excited to read blogs about people interested in obedience training and trialing. Look forward to following your journey. Happy training :)