Well, today we worked on more advanced concepts of sit, down and heel both on and off leash. Twinkie needs to understand exactly what we're asking her to do wherever and whenever we give her the command. She also needs to understand that we expect her to follow our command whether or not she's on leash. With each day of training, she becomes more familiar with our tones of voice, body language and expectations which subsequently creates a more solid working relationship and greater level of respect. At the end of the day, our working relationship comes down to a mutual level of respect. The reality of it all, though, is that this is a process which requires practice and takes time.....much more time than the two weeks we're in Ohio.
Another piece of obedience that we worked on was having Twinkie walk in a heel with more distractions, at varying speeds and in tight spaces. When she's walking at a heel, Twinkie should be walking right next to me and never pull forward. This is by far the hardest skill to learn as a handler. She should also pace herself and remain in the correct position regardless of my current pace and changes in speed. What we wound up doing was start walking at a regular pace, begin running then quickly heeling left around a chair and walking sllloooooowly. With each change in speed, Twinkie was expected to remain in a heel. No exceptions. She did beautifully; we're so proud of our little stinker! :)
The only thing I really struggled with was having Twinkie walk in a heel and turning in a tight space. This is meant to simulate shopping and turning in an aisle or moving around something. It takes more coordination than you'd think. I kept nearly tripping over Twinkie, or she was was just confused by my body language and randomly did things like bark, touch and go into a down with the hopes of getting a treat. :) Randomly performing unprompted commands is a very common behavior for our dogs when they're confused and confused she was! By time we were halfway through this exercise Twinkie was practically doing back flips because I just couldn't get it. Ugh. It will come all in good time.
Two other two obedience commands for the morning were "back" and "stand". "Back" is getting your dog to literally back-up at your prompt. You may need for them to take a few steps backwards as opposed to turning around in certain situations so it's important they have the coordination to do this. "Stand" is a command to bring your dog to an upright position from either down or sit. Some situations may warrant them standing upright and not immediately going into a heel, or it just may be necessary for them to stand so we're able to put on their harness.
This was just our early morning training session. Sheesh....we haven't even gone tracking yet.