Obedience training

We believe in training each one of our dogs, partly so that they are nicer to live with, partly to develop and strengthen our bond with them, and partly because it's fun!

We start all our dogs going to training classes as soon as they have had their vaccinations, between 10-12 weeks, the sooner the better in our opinion. All of our dogs work towards both their Kennel Club Good Citizens' Awards and towards more formal competition obedience work. The KCGC Awards concentrate on practical tasks, such as walking without pulling on the lead, learning to play and at Gold level more advanced tasks such as remaining relaxed whilst being left alone and stopping in an emergency. Khizhi was the first of our dogs to complete the (relatively) new Puppy Foundation Award.

Chacha the Spanish Water Dog has been quite different from the TTs to train, as she has a much better attention span, and really seems to enjoy working with me. She loves retrieving, so that is something which I might find a bit easier than with the TTs, especially Yeshe.

The competition Obedience classes progress in difficulty from Pre-Beginners to Beginners, Novice, Class A, Class B, Class C and Championship Class C. The dogs which compete at Crufts in the main ring are competing in Championship Class C, the highest level of Obedience competition.
Competitive obedience requires an ability to produce much more sustained and accurate heelwork, including staying close while the person turns around ('about turn'), and changes direction to left and/or right. For obedience heelwork, the dog is required to work on the left of the person at a constant distance from their left leg, making right turns much easier to teach than left turns (try it with your dog if you don't believe me!). Of course, there are several demanding things about teaching a Tibetan Terrier to do heelwork, one of which is their size, especially when they're puppies, and the other most obvious is generally their attention span!
Whilst heelwork is perhaps the most difficult and certainly the most sustained exercise in competition work, at different levels dogs are required to complete other exercises, such as the recall, the sendaway, scent discrimination, distance control and of course the retrieve. Tibetan Terriers are not natural retrievers in the same way as some gundogs can be, but I have found that with Khizhi, my second competition dog, I encouraged retrieves during puppyhood, which made it much easier later on.