I decided to start the year with a series of blogs explaining why we do what we do with our dogs.
We compete and train a variety of sports with our own dogs both past and present; each sport we have been involved in has taught us so much, about ourselves and our canine individuals as well as offering us the opportunity to work with skilled specialist trainers.
Some sports are easily accessible and others slightly more obscure; but each activity we do with our dogs has something to offer, and somewhere out there is the perfect activity for you and your canine partner.
The first sport that we are going to put the spotlight on is
It sounds somewhat scary right?!
Competitive obedience is an intriguing sport one that takes true teamwork between dog and trainer, its challenging, but thrilling, and there is no greater joy than when you have completed a round utterly in tune with your dog.
The challenge: the judge sets a round of formalised exercises such as Heelwork, retrieve and Sendaways, your job is to train your dog absolutely accurately to complete these while at the same time your dog needs to be completely committed, driven, focussed and for me the most important bit: enjoying itself.
There is a fantastic website outlining the tests here https://obedienceuk.weebly.com/
What have we learnt while training competitive obedience? Where do I begin....! I have found that Obedience is the sport that will test your understanding on the practical application of learning theory, how to teach a dog focus, how to motivate dogs to do seemingly boring and repetitive tasks with gusto and joy, how to teach dogs to preform accurate tasks with no reward, how to motivate a terrier to work with you! It will also test your mental control, you will need to learn to work under pressure, you will also need to learn to control your body to be the best team mate for your dog, you will also need play skills and fantastic observation and timing skills.
In my experience Competitive Obedience is the sport where you get the closest relationship with your dog, but it isn't for everyone, it takes a keen eye and a determined attitude and patience in buckets! Its suitable for the less mobile among us, but you need to be keen to learn and ready for lessons from unexpected places.
Let us know what motivates you to 'do' Obedience, your funny anecdotes and your greatest achievements.