The Group Exercises

The group exercises are the last part of the Novice class test. They consist of a Long Sit and a Long Down for one and three minutes, respectively, and they're done off leash in a group. The number of dog/handler teams in a group depends on the number of exhibitors competing in the class and the size of the ring. The judge tells the teams to line up on one side of the ring. He or she then instructs the handlers to sit their dogs and leave their dogs, whereupon the handlers go to the opposite side of the ring, turn, and face their dogs. After a minute the judge gives the order to return and the handlers go back to their dogs, walking around behind the dogs to Heel position. The same procedure is followed for the three-minute Down. A dog that lies down during the Long Sit, sits during the Long Down, or moves out of position, receives a nonqualifying score.

When you're training your dog, change only one variable at a time. When teaching a Stay, for example, change the distance or the time but not both together. Increase one, and increase the other when Buddy is steady.

Look at the Stay exercises from the perspective of time and distance. Teach Buddy to stay in place for a specific period of time with you about three feet in front. Then the first time you increase the distance from your dog, decrease the time you're away from him.

Although you can give a command and/or signal for any Stay exercise, your dog's Personality Profile (see Chapter 5) influences whether you want to use a signal. Any Stay is a pack drive exercise, so you want your dog in pack drive. For dogs low in defense fight behaviors, a "Stay" signal puts them into defense drive where they're uncomfortable. Using a "Stay" signal may cause the dog to break the Stay and come to you — or to whine and fidget.

Because he is competing for the Companion Dog title, Buddy already knows the basics of the Sit and Down-Stay. You just need to fill in the missing pieces, meaning you need to practice

^ With distractions ^ Off leash

^ At the right distance

^ For the requisite length of time plus one minute ^ At different locations and on different surfaces

The review progression for any Stay is the Sit-Stay test (see Chapter 7).

Dog Potty Training

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