Happenings and Future Happenings

Isn't fall wonderful?! I like that I live in a place with distinct seasons -- in fact, I like changing seasons for most everything. For example, we are now entering obedience training season at our place. Yes, we typically always work on some obedience but during obedience training season it becomes a focus. (click the title or Read more)

It is actually also draft season but with the H Litter coming, we have no draft tests to enter so I guess we are skipping draft season this year -- it will have to wait until the Spring, which is the other draft season. So instead we are doing lots of obedience again!

Training a dog to heel is always a bit disconcerting to me. Heeling with the older dogs is so easy and natural - it is like we have always done it that way -- so I tend to forget exactly how we got there.

And so it is now Zoey's turn to heel -- well, she has some semblance of heeling from draft but not the precision heeling I like in an obedience dog. This has required that I literally lay awake at night deconstructing heeling -- in other words, reminding myself of all the small pieces of heeling that now require no real thought with my older girls.

Heeling is a very, very complicated exercise -- and it is our failure to appreciate that reality that creates sloppy heeling in the ring. I do not want sloppy, and so I am going through the mental trouble of remembering what it is that makes heeling so complex, and training in a way that reflects that reality. This doesn't mean we won't have "bad" ring performances, but it does mean they will be a surprise -- not an expectation :)

And speaking of expectations, this weekend has a few in store for us. Out in Colorado Zaida Jamaica will be trying to gather up some additional points -- she only needs three to be Cadi's first champion offspring so let's all keep our paws crossed for Barb and Zaida!

Zaida is not the only one who needs some crossed paws -- Montana Mac needs that one open jumpers preferred leg to be a Versatility Dog Excellent, and he has his last western trial this weekend in Washington. If he doesn't get that leg this weekend, his mom will be on the phone out there in Connecticut lining up lessons for her new dog sport -- agility :)

Yes indeed, Montana Mac is transforming back into Connecticut Mac, which just doesn't have the same flow when you say it out loud. His time with us has been productive -- he has had a lot of fun:

And he has earned his NDD, DD, NJP, and his Versatility Dog award -- it would be icing on the cake to also finish off that Versatility Dog Excellent this weekend, so let's send good thoughts for that. He is a wonderful working dog and jumps like -- well, like one of these:

We have enjoyed Montana Mac, and also having the chance to get to know his mom, Megan, better -- our dogs allow us to make wonderful friends :) And so on Sunday afternoon -- securely zip tied in a crate -- Montana Mac will leave from the Seattle airport and fly across the country to his mom. Let's all hope he flies home as a Versatility Dog Excellent!!!!

Zoey will also be competing in the agility trial -- somehow we have managed to make it to Excellent Standard but still need one Novice Jumpers leg for that title -- sigh. While I want most of the crossed paws and good thoughts to go to Montana Mac and Zaida, maybe you could send a few for Zoey as well?

We are excited to stay with our friend, Lisa K., this weekend and hope we get a chance to see some of our other Northwest friends as well! I will, of course, post news as we have it.

Speaking of new, we moved a table to a new spot in the dining area and Zoey immediately jumped on it (because it is normal that a berner would jump up on all tables in a house). This caused Asia to jump on it as well, after I removed Zoey. And after I removed Asia (no easy feat, I might add), look who played copycat:

Yep -- Syd and the H Litter -- sigh... Good thing Dear Husband has a sense of humor :)

So lots happening -- and maybe things with you as well! Good luck all around for the upcoming weekend!!




by Lisa K on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 07:31

I totally agree about heeling being very complicated. I have accomplished very crappy heeling in each of my dogs. We obviously know the common 'thing' here is me. So, it appears the thing has produced a 'heeling thing'. Sigh...One of my favorite things to watch in all of dog sports is a beautiful dog/handler in the obedience ring. I love it! To watch precision, and a happy dog at that, is so joyful to see. I just love the dog who is smiling, wagging its tail and loving being out there. I don't seem to see a lot of that while I watch though? Wonderful, focused heeling is definitely something I aspire to, but not sure if we will ever get there. Would love to hear about your training/progress as you go through this w/Zoey!
I love fall and this big change over from the heat of summer to the cool crispness of fall! YAY! We are looking forward to having visitors this weekend and playing w/the pups in agility! Last outdoor trial of the season and it is supposed to be great weather! Another YAY! Travel safe, keep the dogs off the table ;-) and give Syd a smooch from her favorite friend!

by Patty on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 07:57

I agree, would like to hear about your training process for heeling. Two of my pups will be participating in a mock Rally/Obedience trial this weekend. Our BMD club is holding a Fun Match. I already know that I will be dinged for my figure eights! Both Rocco and Miles do great on the tight turn but they lag on the wide right turn! @#!#!!!
I am determined to fix this and would appreciate any advice.
I have a few suggestions that I am happy to work on as soon as it stops raining here.
Of course I do not need this fixed by Sunday but I REALLY want to learn so that with next pup I can do it better from the get go. However, working to be better with Rocco and Miles will be a pleasure.
LOVED the pic of Syd!!!

by Marti Simons on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 08:10

Heeling has been very hard for me to teach with Maverick. Especially the figure 8. We have been working very hard on it and now I have a dog that forges on the outside of the figure 8! My explanation of what I did is rather lengthy so I would like Mary Ann's permission before I go into it.

by Lamartine Simons on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 08:11

Will be thinking good thoughts for all the trialers this weekend! Good luck to all and everyone have fun! Purna and Fiona will also be on the point quest!

by Cheryl Brickach on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 09:38

I am severely heeling-deficient and I have a brand new puppy. I want to start us off on the right foot (or is it left foot? ahem). Would also love to read more about your deconstruction and teaching of heeling.

by Cheryl Brickach on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 09:39

P.S. Congrats on your impending H Litter!!!

by Jennifer G. on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 11:39

To Mac, Zoey and Lisa's girls at the Agility Trial...wish I could be there to watch you guys and cheer you on! And good luck to pretty girl Zaida!!!

by Barb on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 19:58

Sending positive good luck to all!! Best wishes for Montana Mac-I loved him-he was a sweet boy! Fiona and Purna go get 'em girls!! Air Zoey paws crossed for you too. Lisa K. I know you will have fun and do well!!!
Syd-good work on teaching those new Kaibab pups how to table!! They will be born agility dogs-glad to see pregnancy isn't slowing you down!
Now that tourist season is over and all the campgrounds have closed we are doing our evening walks at the lake again-Zaida hops on every picnic table hoping for a treat...She never forgets that table might = treat.. Glad to see she came by that honestly :)

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