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Discussion Starter #1
Our Pointing club holds training sessions indoors during the winter. At these sessions we usually do some obedience drills (heeling, recalls), fetching, and some steadiness exercises, among other things.

For this week's lesson I have been asked, last-minute, to lead the obedience portion of this afternoon's class.

I'm kind of bored with the same old routine of everyone heeling in a circle, and then everyone standing in a circle while a couple of dogs heel weaving through the circle, and individual recalls across the hall.

Does anyone else have any suggestions for some basic obedience drills we could do? Keep in mind that there is a wide range of ability, from puppies to actual obedience titled dogs, and everything in between.

Thanks!
 

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Do you want to teach new things? You could work on a backwards heel, stand for exam, you could do figure eight heeling. Have two people stand about 6 feet apart with their dog sitting in heel position, 3rd person heels their dog in a figure eight around them. Mix up the heeling patterns, heel then do an about turn, then a left turn, then a right turn, then another about, then a stop, then heel for a few steps and do a stand, then heel a few steps and down your dog while you keep walking. Then a recall from the down and then a finish (left or right). You can do your recalls over obstacles (like a couple of jumps).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the suggestions!

There are usually about 20 dogs in the session, so I want to stick to things that aren't too time-consuming. We could do figure 8's if everyone broke up into groups.

Stand for exam is a good one. Judges at trials often examine the dogs at trials, so that would be practical.

I have been checking out some youtube videos, and am thinking of doing a group down-stay, and also instead of heeling in a circle, heeling as dogs walk past each other head-on. Obviously starting at a bit of a distance and working closer to an eventual CGC style shake hands greeting.

Keep 'em coming!
 

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1/2 the class on each side of the ring, facing each other. Meet in the middle. Have the handlers shake hands and give the other person's dog a quick pat. Then cross the room and shift one person and do it again so you are meeting someone new.
 

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One thing we do in class is everyone is in a down stay in a big circle. The one person leaves their dog, goes and gives the dog across from them a treat (only if the dog stays in a down) and then goes back and rewards their dog (if it stayed in a down).
 

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Have everyone meet in the middle of the room in a disorganized circle like you are just bringing them in closer to talk. Then, have them leave their dogs on sit-stays, down-stays. For the dogs who aren't ready, the handler can just step a foot in front and hold the lead. For accomplished dogs, they can leave the area. It's a great proofing exercise.
 

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Teach them to walk in circles around the owner without bumping into the owner, then suddenly break off in a run to the opposite direction and send the dog out ahead of you, where there will be 5 cloth articles hanging over a 2' tall jump. Only one of those cloth articles will have the proper scent, and the dog must smell it out and nab it mid-air, and upon landing he needs to dig a hole 5' deep to bury it. Then to finish this off, the dog needs to run to the owner's car, drive it around to pick up the owner (while the owner is still running in the opposite direction, of course).

Should be easy.
 

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We do down-stays in a line. Then we have a kid dribble a basket ball across the room. Then two people roll tennis balls back and forth between them. We have one guy who brings a wind up mouse and sets it free.

Again, good proofing!
 

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You can do what trainingjunkie but have half the class doing that while the other half heels around the outside at the same time, doing change of paces, 180 and 360 degrees turns, halts, pace changes, etc. Good proofing for dogs that have to do honor downs in particular (UKC) but also for those who don't.

I don't know if you do "doodling" -- basically circles and stationary heeling exercises. For the circles, the human stays stationary while the dog does tight turns in front, next to, the handler...helps to teach body awareness and gets most dogs rev'd up and focused.

Stationary heeling and front can take several forms...leaving the dog and calling to front/heel from various angles until they are able to come in straight from any angle (SHORT distances this is not a big recall...we're talking like 2-5 feet). Then there is starting with the dog in heel or front and moving ahead, back, right, left, taking an angled step...pivoting right and left various degrees...all with the dog fighting to maintain the starting position (front or heel). Doing all this with attention is the basics of heeling/front work, but it seems like many people skip it so their dogs have limited understanding what those positions truly mean. By altering the angle and speed of the position changes, these can be very basic to quite challenging, so people and gauge their own difficulty requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
1/2 the class on each side of the ring, facing each other. Meet in the middle. Have the handlers shake hands and give the other person's dog a quick pat. Then cross the room and shift one person and do it again so you are meeting someone new.
Have everyone meet in the middle of the room in a disorganized circle like you are just bringing them in closer to talk. Then, have them leave their dogs on sit-stays, down-stays. For the dogs who aren't ready, the handler can just step a foot in front and hold the lead. For accomplished dogs, they can leave the area. It's a great proofing exercise.
Yup, this is along the lines of what I was thinkig of!

One thing we do in class is everyone is in a down stay in a big circle. The one person leaves their dog, goes and gives the dog across from them a treat (only if the dog stays in a down) and then goes back and rewards their dog (if it stayed in a down).
That's not a bad idea!

We have one guy who brings a wind up mouse and sets it free.
This might be mayhem for a group of bird dogs!!!

Teach them to walk in circles around the owner without bumping into the owner, then suddenly break off in a run to the opposite direction and send the dog out ahead of you, where there will be 5 cloth articles hanging over a 2' tall jump. Only one of those cloth articles will have the proper scent, and the dog must smell it out and nab it mid-air, and upon landing he needs to dig a hole 5' deep to bury it. Then to finish this off, the dog needs to run to the owner's car, drive it around to pick up the owner (while the owner is still running in the opposite direction, of course).
Rbark, it's a POINTING dog class... they need to be able to use a GUN, not a CAR... :p

Thanks everyone!
 

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What about a heeling pattern? The handler has to listen to you for your direction and then the dog needs to respond to the handler.

For example: Forward, right turn, about turn, fast pace, normal pace, left turn, slow pace, normal pace, halt.

Good for dogs who want to do obedience/rally, and good for just general attention for things like the CGC, etc
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Stationary heeling and front can take several forms...leaving the dog and calling to front/heel from various angles until they are able to come in straight from any angle (SHORT distances this is not a big recall...we're talking like 2-5 feet). Then there is starting with the dog in heel or front and moving ahead, back, right, left, taking an angled step...pivoting right and left various degrees...all with the dog fighting to maintain the starting position (front or heel). Doing all this with attention is the basics of heeling/front work, but it seems like many people skip it so their dogs have limited understanding what those positions truly mean. By altering the angle and speed of the position changes, these can be very basic to quite challenging, so people and gauge their own difficulty requirements.
Shaina, great drill. I think this is beyond most of the handlers in the class (mostly traditional trainers, though it is starting to change) and it is something that I need to work on with Libby. Thanks for the great idea! I'll practice this and perhaps do a demo of next session.
 

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Shaina, great drill. I think this is beyond most of the handlers in the class (mostly traditional trainers, though it is starting to change) and it is something that I need to work on with Libby. Thanks for the great idea! I'll practice this and perhaps do a demo of next session.
Honestly I leaned the foundation of these drills from a very "traditional" area trainer before we moved. I've just expanded on them in the last 2 years and use reward to reinforce the correct response rather than leash pop corrections for failed/slow responses, and I "punish" laggy response (once they know what they are supposed to do) by giving them only an instant to move into position before moving again...if they are too slow they lose the opportunity for reward.

ETA: For the sake of completeness I should add that the correct aversive method of training this is that the leash pop arrive with the cue, not after it in response to a laggy response, though the reactive version is the more common practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
What about a heeling pattern? The handler has to listen to you for your direction and then the dog needs to respond to the handler.

For example: Forward, right turn, about turn, fast pace, normal pace, left turn, slow pace, normal pace, halt.

Good for dogs who want to do obedience/rally, and good for just general attention for things like the CGC, etc
Missmutt, this is pretty much exactly what we alreaady do. It's a great exercise, but it's gotten a bit predictable. I just want to try and spice it up a bit.

Honestly I leaned the foundation of these drills from a very "traditional" area trainer before we moved. I've just expanded on them in the last 2 years and use reward to reinforce the correct response rather than leash pop corrections for failed/slow responses, and "punish" laggy response (once they know what they are supposed to do) by giving them only an instant to move into position before moving again...if they are too slow they lose the opportunity for reward.
Good point. :eek:
 

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What Shaina described we call proofing position, we do that too. Rewarding for correct position, if its not straight and correct then no reward and then move again.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It went well this afternoon! Thanks for all of the input!
 

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Squeeker - sorry, I thought you guys just heeled in a circle or something based on your description. Wish I could have been of more help! Glad it went well.
 

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Squeeker - sorry, I thought you guys just heeled in a circle or something based on your description. Wish I could have been of more help! Glad it went well.
Hey, don't worry, it's not exactly like you could have known that based on my description anyway! I wasn't too clear.

What we did was our normal circle routine with the halts, sits, downs, u-turns CW and CCW, varying the pace, etc. Then we did the "meet in the middle" drill suggested by training junkie... sort of like the CGC test where you meet a stranger with a dog and shake hands. The dogs all did remarkably well.

Then we did group sit-stays and down-stays, and that also went very well. We did one sit-stay and return to your dog, same with the down stay, and then we did one more stay with a recall at the end.

Then we got in a circle again and did a "stand for inspection" drill. It also served as a "how to keep your dog from jumping on people" lesson!

And finally, we ended the obedience section with the dogs in sits or downs by the owners, who were in a circle, and dogs healing and weaving in and around the circle.

All in all, it went very well! Leading a group is not my most natural role, but I think I did alright.

Thanks again for the suggestions. If I ever have to fill in again, I'll have lots of ideas!
 
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