By Hexen –
Today in Germany as it may be in the states is Holey communion day the first sunday after Easter Sunday, when the kids make first communion at church. I am not by any means a religious person (I never had my communion even though I can say I was raised Catholic I do not practice any relgion). Anyway this is not the basis for my Blog today.
Being a “sort of” German Holiday we had no practice hour ( Ubens stunde) At the boxer club. Normally Sundays for me are up at 5 A.m out the door by 6 A.M, tracking by 7 A.M (with the group both humans and dogs) to the dog club by 9 A.M, obedience practice then of course bite work practice we are usually finished around 3 P.M or 4 P.M in the afternoon on sunday. So today being a day off was more then welcome.
After a super busy month of March with a boxer show and then a endurence test (ZTP) then of course Easter, we have been in the last week working our butts off in preperation for the up comming April 12 and 13 training competition which is only a short distance away.
We had tried a few new things with hella to better her barking and hold, we hung her favorite ball in the blind this worked great to bring her in closer to the helper and to get her not to focus so much on bitting the arm but on just barking. This worked so well in fact that when the master trainer would go to let the ball down to remove it, she would turn her focus from the helper and bitting to her ball (so now the ball is not used).
We have also been working at what the actually test is going to be like. The greeting (anmeldung) to the judge “Dog handler Suzi jones, presents Hella vom hirsch morgen to VPG 1”, then, tracking along with how the dog identifys the articlas ( by laying down in our case), part 2 obedience, part 3 protection work. Of course at the end of each part a anschlusse or “closing” must also be said to the judge at the end of each part, now mind you this is me saying all this in German. The hardest part has been learning the end saying after the protection work, For weeks all I could remember to say was “taters and waffles”. This was O.k (NOT) BUT close to what it sounded like however not what was supposed to be said in German. “Ta te ge stelled (the helper secured) und ent waff net” and here is the hitting stick (which is handed to the judge) before leaving the field. You can see how taters and waffles comes to mind?
Last night at practice hour Hella had a few suprises in store for us, nothing bad just that she is starting to get all the patterns down. When I had commented this to the Master trainer he agreed but then added I did not think Hella would be ready for the test! “What? you have been fibbing to me all this time?” “You said, YOU thought she would be ready and now the truth comes out? “Ah Ja well”. Nothing like a little white lie to motivate your dog handler? Thank goodness Hella is always full of suprises for me. If she holds true to form as she has in the past, she should be almost perfect the day of the test in giving her performence.
Uly has been making progress also. Both on the training field and today out for our walk. On our walk today I was able to have dogs and people pass by with only 1 incident of him reacting to nothing. He quickly got a prong colllar correction and the reaction was ended. I started to think have I been dong a dis-service to them by going to dog club to practice on sundays? In the begining I had said I would attend tracking sunday morning but head home afterward to have a clear the head day for us. However the Master trainer and another member quickly pointed out that Sundays is as close to a test day for practice as you could get as we practice all three phases tracking obedience and bite work. So I have been for months attending Sundays. But as I think about it Sunday’s is the day when we encounter many people and other dogs on walks. This is the day I could use a setting Uly up to finially teach him not to react when something approaches? Well we will have to see as the summer comes if I go back to having Sundays to us and not practice.
I will report on Uly and the training field progress later this week.