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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past weekend we attended our second retriever test ever! We didnt win but still did ok by me! But thankfully we were allowed to run on lead as my dogs obedience was horrible.

In normal daily life his obedience is fine, but the excitment of the test seems almost too much for him to handle. Any suggestions how to improve on obedience for test days? Its pretty hard to re-create that atmosphere for training.
 

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Join a club or train with a group! Set up holding blinds to go through prior to running. Lots of people, dogs, shots and calling will create a similar testing environment!
 

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Find an obedience club near you with experienced trainers and take some formal obedience classes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
On occasion I'll take my dog to the dog park, and heel and sit around other dogs and he does pretty good. Its the test scenario that sends him over the edge. I train alone 99% of the time so its pretty hard to replicate the the excitement of the test day.
 

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I am about to face this with my dog. I am considering taking him to a training day (or 5) and staking him out, completely ignoring him except for his turn. I have thought about this because the e-collar seems to do nothing but amp him up further in this situation the couple of times I have seen it so far.

Any other ideas for exactly what to do at a training day to help them calm down?
 

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On occasion I'll take my dog to the dog park, and heel and sit around other dogs and he does pretty good. Its the test scenario that sends him over the edge. I train alone 99% of the time so its pretty hard to replicate the the excitement of the test day.
Here's the thing, if your dog only does "pretty good" at a dog park or walking around the neighborhood with distractions like barking dogs, people, kids playing etc... they are going to come unglued at a test. If you read enough training threads, everybody talks about having very high standards of compliance with OB, line manners, concepts like decheating, mouth habits etc... in training because just about every dog is going to be looser at a test. You have to have standards that are super high and your dog really tight on these things in training so that at a test, even when they loosen up a bit, they still hold themselves together enough to get the work done as expected.

As others have said, do whatever you have to do to get with a training group and/or club. There is nothing that really prepares a dog for a test but experience and your ability to correct for infractions.

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Ideally your dog would be steady off lead when you start running junior tests, but we all know that rarely happens ;-)
and even if he is, you don't get any extra credit for running him off lead, so use it.

Set up a routine just like at a hunt test every time you train. It takes more time to set up a holding blind and air your dog on lead (we all get lazy, strap the collar on and let the dog loose) but if you do it becomes second nature. Take dog from truck, air on lead, take him to the holding blind on lead, make him sit there and exit on a loose lead to the line every time. If he drags or forges even a little, take him back and try again.

The other suggestions were all good, too. You have to find a group to train with and especially when you train in a group, do things the way you will at the tests and insist on perfection for the obedience. I also get a lot out of taking formal OB lessons for me as much as the dog, because until you have an experienced obedience competitor/judge pointing out how many times you've repeated a command, you don't realize it if you mostly train by yourself. Even though I strive for one command, a couple of my dogs think they don't have to sit til I've said it loudly a third time. :oops: Your dog should sit on the first, not the fourth command and he should walk tractably at heel (on or off lead) when you say heel the first time; you shouldnt' have to repeat it with every step.
 

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Is that the CD that has the "hunt test noises"? I've heard it and wasn't impressed. I suppose it may help but playing the sounds without the 25 trucks, 60 other dogs and handlers walking by your truck and everything else that stimulates the senses like an actual test is just not the same.

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