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Teaching competition obedience on your own


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#1 BCkris

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 11:20 PM

Im very interested in competing in obedience, but im also a do it yourself kinda person. Am i crazy to think i can train my own BC for competition? I have no experience what so ever, but have educated myself through reading and videos on how to train for certain things. so far without distractions his heel work is going very well, he picked up the send away but still working on... Am i crazy or is it do-able?

#2 MaggieDog

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 12:31 AM

Join the club! I'm working on the competition skills right now with the help of some online training buddies and a few email groups. I have attended comp. classes before and train dogs professionally so feel like I have the skills, especially if I supplement the home training with private lessons periodically. I'm moving in July so perhaps I can find classes then, but I'm shooting for our first trial in May (Maggie already has a solid foundation).
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#3 Mariji

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 04:09 AM

You'll be fine. I pretty much learnt everything I know from DVD's books and the internet. I only attended classes when my dog was a year old to work on distractions, even now I do all my training (agility) at home. And we are doing fantastic! We had our first comp last weekend and had many compliments and we are being featured on t.v. amongst other people from our club and Myla is only 20 mo. Our club president even came and said she is looking great. Sometimes if you know what to do then I believe it is better.
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#4 MicheleS.

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 08:10 AM

There are many people competing who train alone.
I go to classes because I enjoy the socialization and the comraderie of being with other students. I enjoy watching other peoples' dogs progress. We share each others' successes and help with each others' problems. I definitely think my dogs being around other dogs on a weekly basis helps their focus because that's part of what you train when you're consistenly in a class setting. You also have the knowledge and experience of the other students. I think there are some things that you get in a class with others with competition experience that you just can't get while on your own. Books and videos are invaluable, however they give one way to train a specific exercise, the way that specific trainer trains it. There are many ways to train any given exercise and that's what you can get from a class setting. Different ideas, different views and different suggestions that might be easier for you and your dog to understand and implement.

I think the training place I go to is a little unique in that the classes are structured a little differently than most. It's not broken down into experience. We have dogs and students of all experience levels in one class so that the newer owners and dogs can learn from the more experienced. The newer students work on exercises at their level while the more experienced work on exercises at their level. I pay monthly for my classes, not by 6 or 8 week session, it's ongoing. (I hope I explained that so you understand.) I have learned so much over the years from watching the more experienced people in my classes and I am now able to give that experience back to the newer ones coming into the sport.

I would also suggest getting a rulebook from the venue you will be competing in and becoming very familiar with it. There are "matches" or "run-thru's" (practice shows) held at different training clubs and those have proved very valuable to me. I can get a true picture/idea of where my dog really is in his/her training and what needs work. You will get help and information from the people you meet there too. There are also seminars being held that you can attend. I love going to seminars and learning from top trainers around the country.

I do go to classes and have that support but the bulk of my training is done alone. As I said, you're not doing the impossible, it sure can be done! I have met people and dogs at shows that never attended a class and I've admired those people. I think it's harder to do.

Good luck!
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#5 Root Beer

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 10:00 AM

Am i crazy or is it do-able?


I'd say go for it and find out! You never know unless you try.

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#6 shysheperdess

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 11:04 AM

It really depends on what your goals are. If you just would like to get a few titles then you can probably muster on your own. I of course urge anyone looking to compete to seek out a knowledgable experienced instructor who not only has competed successfuly themselves but who has been able to pass that along to there students. Of course not all instructors are equal to another and not all people who compete succesfully MAKE good teachers. No books or DVD's can replace the knowledge that someone has obtained from years and years of succussfuly competing with there dogs at an advanced level. A good teacher/mentor is KEY! I still memember the one that was mine, and what she showed me and helped me learn over the years is priceless :rolleyes: She not only was HUGELY respected in the dog community but incredibly succesful with her dogs, and her students were aswell. She not only was great with the dogs and had what seemed like an ENDLESS supply of exercises and sudjestions for solving a problem(which I could trust worked because of her success) but she just had a way with people to.

Even just a few privates with someone you admire can get you much farther than a DVD or book. Like someone mentioned before DVD's and books often give you one way to train an exercise and MAYBE and AB and C of what to do if you run into issues, but never a D, E or F.... I would STRONLGY encourage you also to be careful who you take advice from. If you really want to compete then I am all for having a "support group" of people working under an instructor who don't mind giving sudjestions, etc. but you should have a MAIN mentor who has experience to really ask questions and gain insight from. There are alot of people out there loving to give advice who have no place doing so, and can steer you on the wrong path!! I also find the of DVD's/Books out there for competitive obedience to be slim and out-dated.

Setting a good foundation and starting off on the right foot can mean ALOT when competing as apposed to getting further on down the line and having to "fix" all the bad habits, etc. later. Even setting youself up with private lessons 1-2 times a month would be better than nothing.

A good way to see where you are at with your dog is to go to a "run-thru". Treta it like you would a competition and see where you are at.

#7 ziggzmom

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 01:37 PM

Im very interested in competing in obedience, but im also a do it yourself kinda person. Am i crazy to think i can train my own BC for competition? I have no experience what so ever, but have educated myself through reading and videos on how to train for certain things. so far without distractions his heel work is going very well, he picked up the send away but still working on... Am i crazy or is it do-able?


You've gotten great suggestions, but I'd like to add that if you can steward at a trial it's a wonderful learning experience. You will get the chance to ask the judge questions and see lots of different dogs performing the same excercises. If you can't steward, go to a trial and sit outside the 'B' rings and watch the more experienced handlers and dogs. You'll see some amazing performances, but you'll also see that the 'pros' don't always have a perfect run.

Janet

#8 shysheperdess

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 01:44 PM

I would highly agree with Janet!

When I was starting out I watched the "B" runs and looked for the team/s that I admired most. Not necessarily the ones that were the most perfect but the ones that looked like they were really connected and that the dog was having a good time as that's how I wanted to train! Then after they competed I asked those trainers(if they were willing which most are) alot of questions, and was able to either sign up for a private lesson or get recomendations on instructors in the area.

Good luck :rolleyes:

#9 BCkris

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 10:05 PM

Wow Thanks guys for all the advice and encouragement! i feel a lot better knowing that its not far fetched to do training on my own. A mentor would be great too... my breeder teaches lessons so maybe i will talk to her too.

thanks again guys glad to know im not really crazy! :rolleyes:) maybe one day ill see you in the ring! :D

#10 Pam Wolf

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 01:39 PM

Wow Thanks guys for all the advice and encouragement! i feel a lot better knowing that its not far fetched to do training on my own. A mentor would be great too... my breeder teaches lessons so maybe i will talk to her too.

thanks again guys glad to know im not really crazy! :rolleyes:) maybe one day ill see you in the ring! :D



I have trained several on my own for competition with good scores too, including a nationally ranked Dalmatian sporting a rolled leather buckle collar in the 1980's (wanna see some judges in shock!).

If I go to a class it is for proofing. I find few if any trainers in my area who use the same methods I do.

To do it solo you need to have a good idea what the 'picture' should be and be honest with yourself how it looks when you do it.
I'd rather be a shepherd than a sheepdogger

#11 shysheperdess

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 04:42 PM

I have been training and competing succesfully for years to, and I train alone now to. Knowing what i want and how to get it, I rent a space and practice on my own. I do still take a private lesson here or there with someone's opinion I value greatly. And go to "walk-in" classes for proofing and to get friends "opinions' on certain progressions.

I would still however, encourage someone just starting out, to seek out a knowledgable mentor or instructor to help get you off on the right foot :rolleyes:

#12 Chi-Ann's Mom

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 08:56 PM

I had shown many years ago in obedience and did get my CD very quickly. Then I veered off of obedience and wandered into the breed ring. Now, after too many years to say, I have a BC and have taken FlyBall classes, Agility classes, Herding classes, and Obedience classes. Sad to say, the area I now live in has a very sad group of "instructors". Their classes are terrible. They are still in the 80's with their techniques and I just don't like what they are teaching their unknowing students. I have tried 3 different obedience instructors here, and I refuse to allow anyone to use methods that don't belong anymore. So, I have many books and DVD's to show me much better ways in which to train your dog in today's world. The only thing with training on your own is you don't have the opportunity of socializing your dog, which is so important. So you do need to get them out into the world so they get distractions and the opportunity to work around other dogs, preferably trained ones. I am fortunate to have friends that also are training their dogs on their own so we can get together to work on long sits and downs and just be around other dogs for the exposure.

#13 shysheperdess

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 10:22 AM

Again, it depends on what your goals are. If you just want to get a CD maybe CDX on your dog and care more about the title than the quality of work you are putting forth by all means buy the DVD's and books, etc. there is no reason why you couldn't accomplish those goals on your own.

However if you want to get past a CDX, possibly into UD, UDX territory and even an OTCH and be competitive while doing it you will need the guidance or at least intermiten advice of someone who has achieved an advanced level of work and success themselves. There is just no replacing a knowledgable persons years of experience training and competing with there dogs.

There are MANY different method used by trainers/instructors! I don't even come CLOSE to training the "old fashioned". The trainers I have worked under don't either and are extremely succesful. I find that, not awlays but usually people's methods tend to refelct the breed they choose. Perhaps a trainer with a hard headed lab or german-shepherd will use more traditional mehods and therefore expect those methods to work for every dog or person since they worked for them. You dog also benefits greatly frombeing trained in an environment around other dogs and you will have to get out to fun matches and run-thru's.

The trainers I work with I sout out, they have bc's or train in a way I like. Dogs have different training needs and this varies as well from breed to breed although I try not to generalize. BC's in general are extremely motivated and naturally focused, which makes using traditional methods un-necessary and often times completely counter-poductive!! I would encourage you to attend an obedience trial, seek out people who have bc's or who are succesful but ther dog emulate a style that you admire.

#14 mum24dog

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 10:13 AM

Whether you train on your own or not, you need a second pair of eyes to see your performance as a judge will see it.
It's very difficult to judge perfect position when you are the one working as you haven't got eyes in the back of your head, and it's also difficult to be sure you aren't giving extra commands that might lose you marks.
Of course the more experienced you get "correct" will become more second nature but starting out I would get a second opinion as to how training is going from time to time.
I totally sympathise with those who can't find a class that suits them.

Pam

#15 ziggzmom

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:51 PM

Wow Thanks guys for all the advice and encouragement! i feel a lot better knowing that its not far fetched to do training on my own. A mentor would be great too... my breeder teaches lessons so maybe i will talk to her too.

thanks again guys glad to know im not really crazy! :rolleyes:) maybe one day ill see you in the ring! :D


Your breeder could be a great resource and mentor! Another thought...If you feel brave, you could video yourself working your dog and post it here. It can be really helpful to have someone watch you and your dog work.

Janet

#16 shysheperdess

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 12:00 PM

If your breeder is knowledgable and has years of experience behind her training and competing with her dog( AS ALL BREEDERS SHOULD) then yes this is a good sudjestion. Unfortunetly I see more and more people "breeding" border collies who can't get past Rally with there dogs, or who can't get past an AHBA lower level course, etc. It's sad, but do your research and you will find a good mentor :rolleyes:


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