Getting a strong start has been on my mind a lot recently, for many reasons. One is that it is so important, in any sport, to be able to start your performance with strong intent, from both you and your dog. In obedience this means walking into that ring and you and your dog are confident, ready to work, both of you connected and clear on what is going to happen next. You are giving good information and your dog is ready and willing to receive it.
You can isolate just that starting together; you can practice it and make starting together part of your routine. For Maggie, she worries about things in the ring, so practicing a strong start is super important. It’s not just the start of us entering the ring, but also the start of each exercise. Each exercise gives us another opportunity to re-connect and stay focused on each other. I like to take these starts out, and make sure they are strong. I can practice the start of coming into the ring, through the ring gates; I can practice the start of our signal exercise, our scent discrimination and so on. I want to make sure she values each and every part of the performance. Nothing feels better than when she is begging me to work! In my last training session, I worked just the start of our scent discrimination, an exercise that can be hard for her. All the waiting time before turning to the article pile, and it’s usually by a ring gate where people may be standing, this can test that start for sure. Here was my last training session with her:
Shine is young and distractible, everything is new! So, last night I worked on us just getting in that ring together, being formal, setting up and then having fun. I did it several times, and will probably work this 100 more times before he ever goes in the ring!
Getting off to a good start gives you confidence for the rest of your performance, and can even affect the rest of your performance. So, take the time to work those starts, and you’ll enjoy the benefit of your dog looking forward to each and every one of them!
Strong starts apply in life as well. I have launched a new website, www.onehappydog.com. I am so excited! I feel like Maggie on the scent discrimination start, let me in there! My new website offers so much more, I have free videos, on demand videos and I will be offering on line classes through it as well. Off to a strong start!
Take a look around the new site, and any feedback is greatly appreciated! The door opens………………