O B E D I E N C E
submitted by Mara Wildfeuer,
Obedience can mean many things. For most pet owners it means that the dog responds to the commands given by the owner in a reasonable amount of time. Most people are quite satisfied if the family pet sits, downs, comes when called and stays.
Competitive obedience takes these commands to a different level. The same commands are used but the exact position in which the dog executes the commands and the timing of the response is exacting and precise. AKC obedience has three basic levels of competition that grow increasingly more difficult. (Refer to the AKC website for description of titles)
Weimaraners are smart and stubborn, which makes obedience training both a must and a challenge. Anyone considering competing in obedience with their Weim should have the following three things: A sense of humor, infinite patience and endless cookies. Weims do not learn well with harsh or forceful methods of training or endless drilling of exercises.
Weims can be clowns or primo sulkers, they can have short attention spans and be easily distracted during training (especially by birds or activity). So trainers need to be extra creative to find what motivates their dog and to become more interesting than anything else. By starting training at an early age, keeping it fun and reinforcing the positive behaviors, Weims can become obedient housedogs or serious competitors.
Why train? An untrained Weim is obnoxious to live with, impossible to be around and a danger to himself and others. Training is a great opportunity to spend more time with your dog and strengthen the bond. The dog and handler become a team that communicates to each other and is truly a joy to watch.
My personal story – I never intended to become an obedience competitor when we bought our first Weim. However, she was such a wild puppy, we knew we had to go to puppy kindergarten to learn some manners. It was fun, but she still needed a job to channel her boundless energy in a positive fashion. So, we kept taking classes and working away. June Bug got her CD shortly before her 2nd birthday, then her CDX and finally the coveted UD in 2001 at the age of 8. Quite honestly, we took group or private obedience lessons since she was 5 months old, with a few vacation breaks. A lot of work? You bet. A lot of money? You bet. Worth it? YOU BET! I have never been so proud of both of us as when we completed the UD title.
Most available through http://www.dogwise.com
Building Blocks For Performance
Publisher: Alpine Publishing
Successful obedience trainer Bobbi Anderson gives her insight into starting a puppy off from day one. Emphasis on playing, working on behavioral strengths and weaknesses and relationship with the handler.
Successful Obedience Handling, 2nd Edition
Publisher: Alpine Publishing
Obedience judge and aptly named, Barbara Handler picks apart the elements of how to handle in obedience, where mistakes are commonly made and how to fix them.
Choose To Heel
Great program that teaches crisp, attentive heeling using non-physical methods. There is also a videotape to supplement the book.
The Power of Positive Dog Training
J. Wiley publisher
Pub. August 2001
Pat Miller has excellent information for shaping puppy behavior from the moment a youngster comes home. Practical, fair and consistent advice.
Don't Shoot The Dog
Publisher: Bantam Books
Karen Pryor is also the author of the highly recommended book Culture Clash. Great insight into how dogs learn, shaping behavior and more clicker information.
Clicker Training for Obedience: Shaping Top Performance--Positively
Excellent book on how to clicker train and why it works so well. Everything from the basics to competition levels.