Watch Me

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Here's a little bit of dog training that I do to get Jamie's attention before we go into the ring.  Looking at it from his point of view, he's woken up from a peaceful doze in the back of the car to go for a warm up in the exercise area.  Minutes later he's thrust into the midst of the show with dogs galloping off over jumps and dogs in the queue in front of him and behind him. So does he gaze adoringly at me?  Does he sit quietly waiting his turn?  I think not.  Like most dogs he's ready for the off and he wants to go now.  Waiting is agony and the only way I can get his attention is with a little start routine.  Here's what we do to practice the routine.

watch.jpg (12376 bytes) First of all I get Jamie to watch me. I taught him this with food of course.  A tasty titbit held up high towards my chest and the words "Watch me" soon gets his attention.   If his attention wanders I catch his eye with my hand and bring it back, pointing in towards me and repeating the words "Watch me."  Then he gets the titbit. 

I don't take titbits to the ring.  That wouldn't go down well at all and you can't carry food in the ring or you'll get chucked out or at least eliminated.  

Now that I've got his attention I can do a "down" and "sit" and "down and "sit" and also "paw."  Finally we do a stretch up and by this time the dog that's in the ring in front of us will have finished and we're ready for jumping. 

obedience 037.jpg (1323130 bytes) obedience 034.jpg (1477726 bytes) 

I use this little bit of dog training, with food replaced by praise, when the dog in front of us in the queue has set off.  I've seen a lot of people at the front of the queue going through their own routine to get their dog's attention.  By the time the dog is in the ring it's really focused on the handler.  If a dog is inexperienced of course he might still get very distracted.  It takes time for them to get used to shows but a little warm up training never does any harm while you're waiting for your turn.   Good luck.

Stop press:  Jamie's grandma bought me a fashion magazine.  Do you think she was trying to tell me something?

Update 28th July 2011:  Jamie no longer competes but this was a good start routine with him.  I've seen many other people do little obedience routines whilst in the queue and some people find that walking them around in a circle helps. I tried the routine with Sasha but she is much more hyperactive and she suffers from border collie collapse.  In view of this and after taking the vet's advice we get someone to queue for us so that I can keep Sasha walking around and away from the queue until it's her turn. 

Finally just a little note: Jamie's Grandma passed away on 26th July 2008.  We still miss her. 

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