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 Post subject: Good Boy Kermie!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:07 pm 
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Today Kermie and I had two obedience trials (in the same location). Now, some of you have seen how nervous I get - I've gotten a bit better since Indy in 2004 with Farley, but nerves are still an issue for me. As I was driving to the venue, I felt like being sick, but I managed to talk myself out of it. Our ring started at 8:30am, with a judge named Gwen Roswell that competes with Shelties, but trains with a good friend of mine that has Cockers. We competed in the Pre-Novice class (PCD). It consists of a heel on leash, a figure eight, a sit for exam, a recall and a 30 second sit stay. Kermit has two passing scores which he earned in August, but the runs weren't pretty. I decided not to compete again until I felt like he was ready. Plus dogs have to earn three passing scores under at least two judges, and both of his previous passes were under the same (very generous) judge. So I really wanted to earn my title under Gwen . . . given our mutual friend and the fact that I know she has an affinity for Cockers.

Of course, I just started a completely new hand position during heeling on Tuesday night, to bring Kermit's focus down from my face (which causes his to forge - heel ahead of me and wrap around me) to my hand. I've been working hard all week on being more natural with it, but my nerves made me a bit stiff (kind of like a moving statue that wasn't breathing, or so I was told LOL). Well, Kermit's heeling was beautiful. He was in place, had lovely sits at heel and didn't disengage and find other things to be interested in. He wasn't perfect - he laid down in front of me on the recall, almost out of reach, but the heeling was the best he has EVER given me in a trial setting. He aced the sit stay, and we did it! He earned his Pre Novice title, with our instructor there and with his favourite Aunty Ellen there (she also has Cockers and has been tutoring me in obedience as she's a top notch competitor).

It's a good thing his first run was so good . . . it saved him from being sold to the gypsies after his second run, which was wrong in every way the first one was right. He aced the sit for exam and the sit stay. His heeling was atrocious and on the recall he ran around the ring for a bit before I had to call him to me. Stinker.

I work very, very hard with Kermit, as I have big dreams for him in obedience. To have him do so well for me today just proved that I'm on the right track. I have earned titles with my other dogs . . . but this is the first time I've had a really GOOD trainer to work with (well, any trainer, really) and also the first time I've had a dog with this much potential. When he is on, he is such a beautiful working dog. He learns fast, he doesn't mind making mistakes and he does everything with zest. I just love this little dog and everything he gives to me.

18k Champagne Taste At KLAD PCD, RN, SHDM, NTD
Pre-CD, Rally Novice, Scent Hurdle Dog Master, Novice Trick Dog . . . . and many, many more to come :)

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Kelly & the KLAD Cockers
Jack Jack, Sylvie, Kermit & Opie
http://www.kladcockers.com


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 Post subject: Re: Good Boy Kermie!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:17 pm 
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Great job, Kermit and Kelly!


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 Post subject: Re: Good Boy Kermie!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:54 am 
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Congrats on the Pre-CD!

Interesting that you had the same issue with the focal point that I had with Heidi. I don't know if it is fixed yet until our next trial.

Enjoy your journey with Kermit!

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Proud mom of 3 rescued American Cocker Spaniels:
Louie BN RA CGC R/W Parti 2/4/03-5/29/17
Heidi CD BN RA CGC Buff DOB: 3/31/06
Cherry UDX RE CGC R/W Parti DOB: 4/1/10


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 Post subject: Re: Good Boy Kermie!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:43 am 
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Our breed is so small that if we use our face (eye contact) as a focal point, it will start to cause wrapping and forging in the more eager dogs. Eager isn't the right word . . . but Kermit was SO reinforced for the focal point that he has strong drive to make eye contact. I have to be VERY careful to not look past midpoint during heeling or else he immediately pulls forward and wraps. So far the new focal point (pocket hand, from Denise Fenzi and others) seems to be working - it's more a matter of me getting it figured out and making it more natural.

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Kelly & the KLAD Cockers
Jack Jack, Sylvie, Kermit & Opie
http://www.kladcockers.com


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 Post subject: Re: Good Boy Kermie!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:26 pm 
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I agree with you on the cause. It is because we have small breed. If we have a golden, that would never be a problem. In fact, I would never have developed a lot of the bad habits that I had to correct myself on as the golden's heads are simply at the right place!

I don't know how. Heidi could maintain the higher focal point when she is in venues that she is comfortable with. She is absolutely my backyard obedience champion in that sense (BOTCH). But when out in trials, all kinds of interesting things happens because she simply could not maintain that position under stress. Forging and wrapping around has been seen. After all, she has to worry about potential attacks by shelties, labs, basenjis etc.

Our new focal point with Heidi is along the seam of my pants around my waist. I have pulled her from four shows this year because of various reasons since August (her health, my health, and other things). I hope that we will have a good January in 2015 and she can retire from obedience (except to support specialties) afterwards. I will keep training her for Utility and will show her if I am 100% convinced that she and I are going to have a good time in the ring only.

And then I got Cherry, who figured out the correct focal point on her own. Her heeling is now good at some shows and she actually looks like a Linda Shea student's dog. Her figure 8 is very, very good these days and covers up all handler errors made by me. And then we will decay if we show too many times in a row. We could have gotten a 195 in Open B a few weeks ago (except she pulled a drop-on-recall from hell to incur a very substantial deduction). We got complimented by a few people whom I really, really respect.

Because I knew how bad Cherry's heeling had decayed to at one point in her career (when we were going for RAE legs), I am confident that we can fix their heeling over time as long as we work with them consistently. If nothing else, nobody can take away the journey and the relationship that we built with our dogs. In fact, some of the most inspirational moments are the ones that Louie pulled on me.

In essence, the myth that we will suck if we did not train them perfectly as a puppy is now busted.

_________________
Proud mom of 3 rescued American Cocker Spaniels:
Louie BN RA CGC R/W Parti 2/4/03-5/29/17
Heidi CD BN RA CGC Buff DOB: 3/31/06
Cherry UDX RE CGC R/W Parti DOB: 4/1/10


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 Post subject: Re: Good Boy Kermie!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:26 pm 
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Congrats on Kermie's new title, as well as having someone to continue the Cocker Butthead Club. Very talented to do both things on the same day.

Colleen K


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 Post subject: Re: Good Boy Kermie!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:03 am 
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Quote:
If nothing else, nobody can take away the journey and the relationship that we built with our dogs.


And THIS is why I do it . . . why I train and compete. Because every dog is different and I learn something with each dog and I become a better trainer every day. This time, with Kermie, is amazing. It's the first time since I trained Farley for obedience that I have an instructor to help me. I trained Grace and Jack Jack at home, without help. And it shows . . . Grace was consistent, but never fabulous. And Jack Jack just really hates heeling, because it stops him from sniffing. But Kermit . . . I finally got the right dog at a time when I can fully explore training him properly. When he's on, he could compete with any dog out there, including Goldens and Border Collies. But man, when he's off, he's a contender for President of the Butthead club. The thing is . . . we're getting closer to me knowing how to get him to be on and up when I need him to be. And it's an awesome thing to be a part of.

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Kelly & the KLAD Cockers
Jack Jack, Sylvie, Kermit & Opie
http://www.kladcockers.com


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 Post subject: Re: Good Boy Kermie!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:45 am 
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Thumbs up..


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 Post subject: Re: Good Boy Kermie!
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 2:28 am 
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I know what you mean about the bad habits, I have so many which are mostly from working such small dogs. :tg

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Owned by Ellie (tri CKCS) Hetty & Lottie (blenheim CKCS). Always missing my Henry (blenheim CKCS) 13/4/02 - 4/6/10 and George (buff cocker 10/4/02 - 6/8/16)

Spaniels are the best dogs!!


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 Post subject: Re: Good Boy Kermie!
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 9:49 am 
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:th-up

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Chloie Pearl~Babybutt~Tri~2/16/08
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