Saturday, February 6, 2010

Quinn does MR today with Dennis Bilik

Quinn had a date today with Dennis Bilik to practice his Mondioring skills.  I have to admit I haven't done any work in that direction since the last time we saw Dennis, but Quinn seemed to not only remember what we had worked on previously but also processed it!  Today we worked on the Defense of Handler.  I remembered to cue Quinn by telling him "defense" and then asking for contact, and he did a good job of remembering what contact meant!  Some of the things I had to consider today were how to carry things, how to sit or move through/around obstacles and keep the dog in the best position for defense.  I was very happy that Quinn is outing and returning on the whistle.  Now I need to add his return to a particular position, such as between my legs and let him settle there instead of immediately rewarding with the bite pillow.  This is something I can train at home and apart from the decoy. 
Things to remember include:
  • cue the handler defense by beginning at a sit.  use verbal cue and then the physical by asking for "contact"
  • cue the exercises where Quinn will be sent for a bite by beginning in the down position
  • figure out how I will sit on something.  Quinn should move 3/4 but not move behind me
  • teach Quinn the position he should return to
I remain convinced that if I never practice beginning and ending exercises using the horn, I will never have to desensitize the dog to it.  I keep hearing of people having to practice random horn honks after the dog begins to anticipate releases/etc due to the horn honk, so why not avoid that whole issue? If a horn honk is never assigned a behavior, the dog won't anticipate.  Now, the handler is a different matter and I have to weigh whether I need to practice beginning and ending with honks.  I do think I can practice some of that by walking through exercises without the dog.  I guess the proof will be in the pudding... or competition.

Dennis said today that we are practicing work that is at the MR2 level.  I'm good with that!  Better to practice and be comfortable working at a level of expectation beyond what is required.  In that way, the actual competition will be easy, over and done before I know it because myself and the dog will be prepared for something more challenging.

The very next thing I need to do is to print off a copy of the rules so that I can break down the exercises and make sure I know what is expected of us.  Oh, and send in my Mondioring Association membership!!