Hey peeps – it is me, Nala, woofing to you again!
Remember when I wrote about training your human pet adequately? Well, once you feel that you have achieved a certain standard there you may think about pushing his/her boundaries even further. Yep – that is right, I am talking about the E- or WT-word – Exam or Working Test. BUT – you have to be really sensitive here, as this may involve substantial nerve-racking activity on your human pet´s side.
You must push him/her in facing their buck fever – best is to simply ignore it or to give them substantial ear and face licks when necessary! That worked really well last weekend when I took my Siv to our very first start in the advanced class in a Dummy Working Test (learn a bit more here).
It is the second highest class in Dummy work, and gosh was Siv scared. She thought she could not handle me right, she was afraid I could not fulfil the sophisticated tasks (PAH!) and so on and on. Can you imagine – Siv seriously thought about cancelling our start. So there came my part – I applied a mixture of being a really good girl at our last trainings and of licking her fears away. For those of you who are not familiar with dummy work : It was invented by English hunters who wanted to train their retrieve dogs even though hunting season was over. They took little canvas sacks (standard has 500g) instead of game and made their dogs work with these.
The tasks are similar to a shoot: there are searches where neither the dog nor its owner knows where the “dummy game” is, then there are marks where you can see the whole or parts of the dummies trajectory (idea is that the dummy is the duck that was shot and falls down) and finally, there are blinds where only the owner knows where the dummy is lying and has to send the dog there. In working tests, the tasks are made out of these modules on land and water and also of basic stuff like heel work, steadiness and so on – either the dog has to work on its own or next to another dog. I just love doing dummy work – it feels great to help my Siv finding and getting all these dummies. She is always very happy when I bring her one! But back to last weekend´s working test: I was able to give my Siv confidence, and she got better from task to task – even those we had never done before. So in the end, we did not only pass the advanced class, but got an “excellent” in the judge report and won third place and a trophy!
Woohooo, I got a huge bone and extra cuddles on the sofa that evening. Which brings me to checking my feeding bowl again … I am off for now, woof to you soon, your friend...
Nala the vizsla