Why can’t show & go’s ever be less than 2 hours away? Well, never the less, we braved the early morning mists and hit the highway at the crack of dawn last weekend. This time we were headed for Chatham, VA for a chance to train at Setterwoods.

Rugby has actually attended a couple of show & go’s at this location, and towards the end of the day things were pretty quiet. So I decided to do a partial run-through of a novice routine, to get a feel of where we are in his training. I have to say I was pretty pleased! I got some good diagnostic information, but in general he worked really well!

I did not want to ask him to do two heeling patterns, so I decided to jump in at the figure 8. This also made the figure 8 easier, because we were able to walk into the ring with the stewards already set up. Having the stewards walk in between exercises is a fairly intense distraction. Even though I was testing a little, I still wanted to set him up for success. I am very happy with his focus and consistency of position in heeling. He is really shifting his weight onto his rear and giving me lovely head position. I was especially excited to see that hold up because I have been working HARD on getting that trot with the elevated head position for over a year. His natural posture is much more… well, hunched. We’ll keep working to reinforce that, but for now I really like what I’m seeing. I think we are on the right track!

The stand for exam was not spectacular. I think I could have set him up a little better for that (stacked him more balanced), but we also just need to work on that exercise and concept a little more. Weirdly, his moving stand is much stronger. Stays and Not Bouncing are very hard for him. Of course, I’ve reinforced quite a lot of bouncing, and you definitely get what you pay for. 🙂 I’m super happy with his heel free. Will keep working on my about turn footwork with him. It is just a little different heeling with a shorter dog, and I found myself drifting into some bad habits because of the temptation to look down for him. Best to fix those things sooner rather than later! If I can trust him to be in heel position (which is the whole point of training, yes?) then I can just focus on putting my feet where they need to go and the whole thing will be smoother.

I did a short recall, again to set him up for success. He nailed it! Look at that front! What a good baby dog!! The entire run was done on a fairly low ROR for him in public, and I gave him a big jackpot of food and play (not shown on the video) at the end.

I’m feeling pretty good about this pup!