Ronin had a good three day weekend in obedience trials. No legs, darn it. We may have fixed a sit-stay problem, but he suddenly forgot the drop-on-recall exercise in Open B. And today the first exercise was the broad-jump. I placed him, left him, got into position and gave the command, "Ronin, OVER!" and he quietly sat there staring at me. He'd flunked the class without moving an inch, without taking a step. He jumped on the second command. And no drop-on-recall. But the last two days he did his sit-stays. Friday he went down on sit-stay for about the 8th time in a row. The judge "made" him get back into a sit position (she said she didn't touch him, but got him up into sit). That must have helped. When a dog gets by with going down on sit-stays in the ring, it is difficult to break them of it. Ronin always does sit-stays in practice, and we practice all sorts of ways: on the bed, in a chair, in the dark, with and without dogs, with and without people and other distractions, long and short sit-stays, with objects placed under his chest, with me in sight, out of sight, far away, close, whatever, he does stays in practice. Thanks to Nancy Pollack, who must have convinced him that going down on sit-stays in the ring was a "wrong" thing to do, and probably all the practice, he did sit-stays. And for about 8 trials he had done everything fine except sit-stays. So of course when we fixed the sit-stays, other things became problems. But those are easier to fix, so I'm happy.
Besides, on Friday he took 1st Place in Utility B and today, Sunday, he took 2nd Place. He should have qualified Saturday, but brought the wrong metal article. Articles (Scent Discrimination) is something he had solid. So I didn't work him enough on that exercise.
What I learned from this weekend (and last weekend) of no UDX legs is:
Work on every exercise, no matter what he's been good in before,
Continue working extra on sit-stays,
Work through some run-throughs without breaks in between exercises and keeping his attention,
Try to get longer "go outs" all the way to the opposite side of the ring,
Polish fronts and finishes,
Get him up and excited after a long break between classes (bring a toy, he awakens to that)
We have time before next month when there are 6 trials to attempt to get another UDX Leg (or more ;^).
When he did his sit-stays again, even though he NQ'd I was really happy. It felt almost as good as getting a title, it had been that much of a problem.