Dog Training Progress: January 2015

At the end of last term training, I realized how I wished I had kept more detailed notes about Vera and Zar’s progress in dog training. Z especially, but Vera too, have made so much progress (and so have I as a handler), and it’s a pity to not recognize our giant strides forward. So I wanted to just take an informal minute and note where the two of them are, and me, too!


  • 1 leg of her CAT completed (February 2 years ago)
  • 2 legs of her Rally Novice completed (this past November, with one first placement and one third placement!)
  • Currently enrolled in Rally Obedience
  • Doing really well with: 
    • Automatic sits (next: automatic sit in heel).
    • Turns.
    • Watching my movements.
    • Pace changes.
    • Jumps (need to work on getting back into heel)
    • Downs. Finally.
    • Sits/downs & walk arounds (breaking much much less than before!)
  • Getting better at: 
    • Heeling. We haven’t formally started working on this yet, but she’s getting better at not being super wide or forging. Slowly but surely, it’s coming!
    • Fronts. Sooo close. We mostly just have to stamp out the jumping up on me part.
    • Staying in her body!!
  • We really need to work on: 
    • Stand.
    • Heel.
    • Pivots.
    • Finishes.


  • Currently enrolled in Beginning Competition Obedience + Conformation + Demos several times a week
  • Doing really well with: 
    • Heel!!! I cannot believe how much better she has gotten at heel in the last three months. She looks up at me and smiles! :) We still have a ways to go, but hey!
    • Automatic sit in heel
    • Scoot fronts
    • Sit on left, sit from in front, sit for petting
    • Down on left from stand/sit
    • Stand (from other positions and for exam)
    • Targeting
    • Head work
  • Getting better at: 
    • Reaching over her front in stand
    • Attention
    • Long sit and down
    • Figure 8
    • Moving down
    • Down from in front
  • We really need to work on: 
    • Fronts/recall
    • Finishes
    • Speed when we’re doing something *other* than heel. (She can be so pokey on things she doesn’t like to do. See: recall and finishes)
    • Off leash attention
    • Cavalettis
    • Stretches


  • Currently Assisting: 2 foundation classes, 2 manners classes, Rally, 2 conformation classes (alternate playing with Z and assisting depending on size)
  • Doing really well with:
    • Connecting with Z — finally starting figuring out how to be properly UP for her to get her excited to do the work.
    • Using my body
    • Being more aware of what my body is telling the dogs
    • Grounding myself, not getting as frustrated as easily
    • Novice rally signs. I know them backwards and forwards and feel confident in them.
  • Getting better at:
    • Demanding precision from Z with good timing
    • Assessing how to help people in classes I’m assisting — what I can say that will be the most helpful depending on the person, the dog, and the exercise
    • 3-5 second stacks. They’re my favorite, actually. I’m learning I do way better under pressure than not. I fuss too much otherwise and screw everything up! :P
  • I really need to work on:
    • Getting comfortable with setting up rally classes
    • Advanced rally signs
    • Adjusting my handling for Vera. Not so much energy — it’s too much for her and makes her break. Take smaller steps, don’t move as quickly. Call commands sooner for her.
    • Stretching Z more consistently
    • Demanding precision from Vera with good timing
    • Memorizing borzoi standard
    • (Conformation) More quickly and accurately judging handling errors and structural and movement qualities

I have so much more I can and will write about dog training, but I wanted to take a moment to take stock of where we are. :) Expect another one early March.

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