As the thunderstorm blew over our house this morning, I realized I was going to have to come up with some other way to exercise my dogs than to rely on games of chase in my (still) muddy back yard or hikes through puddles. As much as that can be fun too, I decided I’d rather stay dry. So, off I headed to work on some indoor training at the Canine Training Association (http://www.caninetrainingassociation.org/)
This week has been particularly productive as I have attended three training classes. Yes, I also work for a living and am a mom and driver for two Middle School boys, but I am proud to say, that my dogs too were entertained this week. I thought it would be worth writing about some new training goals you can set for yourself and use to compete! What I found out was that AKC has added numerous new events that not only include mixed breeds, but also allow true beginners to compete. In the past, these new events, training seemed to be only for professionals or at least for those of us who did not have families and jobs to tend to. Here is what I learned:
Before you work to compete in Novice Obedience trials, you can now compete in Beginner Novice competitions and earn a title while working almost entirely on leash. This is great news for those of us with extremely shy dogs. It requires that your dog heel, complete a figure 8, sit for exam, sit stay (all on leash) and come when called. Of course the recall is off leash but still, there is no finish required! (I'd be happy to explain the finish to you if you like...)
Another fun and rather new event is Rally, for which there are also various levels of competition. According to the web site Rally was designed for the average pet owner to have fun as the team contemplates competition in obedience or agility. You may encounter anywhere from 10 to 20 stations and you can talk to your dog and encourage her throughout! I love that. You don’t have to wait until the end to tell your dog she did well. According to AKC: “The main objective of Rally is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport of rally at all times and under all conditions.”
Which brings me back to our goal (see previous posts) of sipping coffee with your dog at your side at a local cafe. Since Spring is here and you are now well equipped to train, I look forward to seeing you all in the local coffee shops. My pack and I plan to visit Zu Coffee and City Dock in the next couple of weeks. How about you?