NB! I will ad stories to the end. So use scroll 🙂

It is again time to take a travel, to see highest level of dogsport and compare Hawk training level. I have noticed, that with Hawk I start every competition season with words: I have tried new approach and it seems work and would be interesting to see the result.  It is funny because with Hawk I have tryed so much different things I have never ever thought I would try. I could say, that I have even looking some totally new things, I have never tried with any other dog, I have been training by myself or among my trainees in 25 years. I take Hawk as a gift , who keeps my brains all the time working, so they stay longer fresh 🙂
2017 year was kind a eyeopener for me  and I found myself in the end of the season in point, that I had even in tracking already problems connected to the Hawk temperament. So if I do not make a jump to totally different way of thinking I will be loosing all three disciplines.So I have changed in tracking and obedience nearly all concept I use. I think that in whole picture I have never jumped in dogtraining from one box to totally another with all these characteristics.  For me the training of dog have been a lot of black and white, positive and negative. Also in my mind all three disciplines of IPO stand 100% in the right state of mind and it is the basement for everything. It is in every exercise and also in every moment in the training and competition. I have understood very well, that with Hawk the problem I face is, that we is having jumps in drives, what come for nearly nothing and the dog goes to the level, where he is difficult to handle. As such jump can hit any time, it will lead to the risk, that even having some exercises in a perfect level trained, they just disappear. Good example is retrieve, where I do not have any problems with chewing . But in competition where he makes a jump in drive it looks like disaster. The changes I made have worked in the way, that I really feel, that dog is better in different situations and I hope to see it also in FMBB. I will not write very precise, as possibly people are not so interested about it and it gets too long.

Tracking. I have took nearly all food away from track. Hawk is working nearly for nothing. For me it seemed, that he was so active for looking the food or artickle, that this brought out the mistakes in the artickles.  If I punish this dog for mistakes or drive, it just will rise the activity, as he is so powerful, that every such move makes drive up. So Hawk is getting just in some arctickles food and that’s it. As he has never been good eater, it has been difficult to get his nose actively down.  If I placed food to some spots, it sometimes helped, but often did not give anything. So I was thinking, what could be the thing what the dog looks for and it cannot be artickle. So I started to use paperclips. I started in asphalt during the winter. I used the clicker and and he got food for laying down in paperclip. Then I took the clips to the track and I did not give possibility to go over them. This way I managed to get a balance, where he has more interest to look for something within the step and I did not need to use such a corrections, what make drive higher.  For me it seemed more logical in dogs head. This was like one part. I also worked a lot with coming to track, with raport , with all the parts, what are not tracking. Just to get his mind more out of the tracking. I also took a lot of his free will away going to track, coming from track, just walking around etc. Basically I made his “box” much smaller trying to  make it so, that it will not build up energy. I see clear movement to better direction, but let’s see where we are.

Obedience has been a challenge.  Today I understand so clear the problem points in the obedience. There is two things. It is so funny, but  I cannot reward the dog, as he starts to wait it and so it will build up frustation. For Hawk the problem point is frustation. Even small frustation builds up a lot of drive.  Imagine the puppy and young dog. Mostly we train with food and after with ball. We make short exercises and give reward for this. After we use also the correction to give messeage to dog about mistakes and things we do not like. Imagine the training you could not use any of them?   I was wrong, as I used both positive and negative signals too long. When Hawk started to make mistakes because of the drive, I made corrections for mistakes and when he was good I gave a reward. Both build up frustation and make just more problems. What I have changed. First, I took already last year away ball etc. all too good rewards. I praise with a little food and if possible then just through pack drive and touching, praising. If dog makes mistakes, I did not do for long time anything. I just countinued until he was better and I did not reward for this also, but just continued. I wanted that dog gets piece and just feels the emotion when he works in certain level. I wanted that dog experience the certain state of mind and only reward is beeing in this state of mind. I also started already year ago make a lot of such touching of dog, what keeps him more calm. It gave me possibility this spring already to bring in at least some negative signals as much there was then contrast. I started also to make obedience (heeling) out of the training field. I just made about 800 – 1000 meters walks in the forest making heeling (fuss) all the time to give to dog kind of balance in this heeling. Also I thought, it will help with the frustration what builds up in competition for not rewarding. I think, that it has helped also a lot. In this way we got the training field influence out and the heeling was in more neutral place, what does not affect so much to dogs state of mind.
With apport (retrieves) I have had a problem, that building up frustration for not rewarding in obedience gets in point of retrieve to such level, that he needs to reward himself by himself and so he does not wait the command. Last year I tried to punish for getting nervous in the trowing point. I thought, that if I can get him better controlled and in right state of mind in trowing point, I do not have problems. I also took the dumbell and made heelings ( alot of heelings) I throwd a lot of dumbells and just walked around them. All training was like living in dumbell forest. After rebuilding all obedience system I understood, that anyhow all these games with retrieve build up frustration. Even making just fuss after throwing, the dog never getting to dumbell does ot get used to this, but will be more frustrated. So I changed the idea. I throwed the dumbell, made some heeling and released the dog. When dog came to me I gave a food and praise. I used the same sytem before also in forest, that every time dog came to me I gave food, a lot of food and praise. Dog got used to, that when he is released, then he gets food from me. So he had a choice – go to dumbell or come to me. Going to dumbell did not give anything. First I did it with leach, taking out the risk going to dumbell. Then I started to throw over the jump and another person took the dumbell away. When I released the dog and he run to the dumbell there was choice.  There is a lot of detalis, I will not write here to keep it shorter.
So I am still optimistic and let’s see how it turns out.

For me going this year FMBB a problem has played the winter. As because of long winter I could start with tracking just few weeks ago, I could make obedience and bitework trainings in the field just two weeks ago, it means, that things like jumps, retrieves,  sending out with down, 6 bling search, long attack, whole bitework as a serial of exercises   etc have had not too much trainings. This is a problem living in the north country and for sure it will affect to result. Comparing with countries who not only can track without 5-6 months break, but also make different things in bigger field most of the year, we have a problems. But so it has been all the time and having hobby like IPO it would be stupid to live in here and make some excuses in bases of it.

I will keep you updated here what happens in FMBB with my comments.

So first day in Slovenia

After 2000 km and three days drive we are here.
During the drive I made in one Polish gasoline station a short track for Hawk, just to introduce green grass after long winter. The reason for doing this was, that so I will win a training for me in Slovenia. It was just introducing without anything special.

So coming to Slovenia we could make here already a longer track to get more out of training. We were here just afternoon, so I could track around 16 . It is 29 degrees warm, sun is shining and feels really hot. Specially for us, coming from winter wonderland. Between the mountains the temperature rising quickly in th emorning and whole day is very hot. Hawk seems also not taking so big temperature jump too easy. It is good, that in Estonia it also got a little warmer before us leaving and also it is good that we came one day earlier than usually. Hawk was not enough powerful in the track and also the intensity was missing. It seemed, that he was also tired of the temperature.
So for sure I will take the risks this time. I can train Hawk less, than last year and so I have a risk, that he will be possibly flying to high, but in the same time also the temperature having an effect. So it is difficult to say, what is the perfect choice. At least I need to risk. I also will make another riski step. I will make next morning two short tracks having food inside to give a bit more motivation to the dog and get him work more intensive nose to the ground.. I know, that I have had the same problem also at home moving from dirt to green grass and in first really warm days he cannot see point to put nose so down, as there is enough smell to track anyhow. So I have been using curves, putting some food, making some small corrections and getting dog in the same time having more power and putting all to the ground. Everything would sound easy, but ….. The problem is, that I have worked now to the direction, that I want less power and less activity and so there have not been nearly food at all. So it is also risky step. But I need to take the risk and then on the next training I can see what will be next.

Second day in Slovenia.
So I was thinking pluses and minuses and decided to make for Hawk two short tracks. First like serpentine having some food in curves and ball in the end and second one two straights, not corner but curve and in the second straight two artickles. Idea was, that with food I can activate dog more, in curve I can demand deeper tracking converting the correction to the activity side, what makes dog work more active nose deeper down. First track started not as good as it could be, but better than in first day. By the serpentines the dog was growing all the way and in the second half there was the power I would like to see and he put all this to the ground.  Second track was really close to ideal. At the moment I am satisfied, but let’s see will it make damage with additional activity for the competition. If it will be middle of day hot track, then I think it wont be problem, as dog is anyhow tired of temperature, but early morning it can be so and so.
I also made some small obedience just building up right state of mind.
Then there was time for Hawk to rest and we took Mari dog Quartz with us and went for tourism. Wow it was beautiful. Just so beautiful nature is here. We travelled like 1,3 hours to the mountains and went to see some waterfalls and beauty of green forest.

I think Quartz has never in his life had so long walk climbing up and down 🙂

Coming back for evening the temperature was coming to 24 (not 29 , like it was most of the day) and there was time to make one more track for Hawk and some little obedience working with state of mind and apport.
Track was about 450 steps some corners + some artickles, no food . I really enjoyed the way Hawk was working. He was a little over motivated coming to the start, but balanced nicely for track. I think that for next few tracks I can train I will work more with balancing the dog and just hiding some pieces of food in some tracks and also using the small pieces of rubber (or paper clips).
On Monday there is official training.

Monday 23. April
In the morning I did about 600 steps track with several artickles and corners. Would say, that it was best track in here and right now I am happy with balance. Of course it is much colder in the morning and it affects to activity of Hawk for sure and on the other hands I still am not sure how his balance will stay in real competition stage, where always has been some jumps. But for sure I cannot complain this for the winter or temperature or what ever as this is 100% matter of his training level and as he showed nice tracking today I can say, that he should be ready to track in competition even we had long cold winter and I managed not train as much as I needed.

Official training.
Mostly people say after this training that everything went nice. Looking what people do in the training very often everything is not going so nice, but it is always good to say so, as then everything seems to be under control and it gives more selfconfidence to people. I would say, that I was not satisfied with the training. Hawk got for all this surrounding atmosphere a bit high in drive and it seems, that earlier when I trained him with ball, it was easier to get him more attentive to me, than now with training lower drive. So I had troubles to get him as attentive as I wanted. He did not go high, but he was not as good as I would like. I also did everything with aports I wanted, but I am not 100% sure, that in the competition he looks the way I like. I did not search the blinds, as I thought he will run them anyway and the temperature was about 30 degrees. Also I thought that after running the blinds it will affect anyhow to my obedience as Hawk will remember the field as bitework field. As much as I have problems with his state of mind jumps, I thought this is better.
Interesting thing is, that I did in the evening also some obedience near the hotel and looked just perfect. So I would say, that the direction of trainings has been good, but It still needs some time to get it stabilised also in stadium. So let’s see how it turns out. I still have some time for adjusting. For sure I will go tomorrow morning also to stadium to train a bit the right state of mind near the stadium.

Tuesday 24 April

Adjusting dog for competition is difficult in world championships, as before draw you never know, what will come next day. So I need one adjusting track day before competition and to be sure everything runs for track I needed to do one morning track. I did again short straight, some serpentines and then one longer straight with two artickles. I think it was best track he has done here. So I think it starting to be in right state of mind.

I drove to the stadium to make some obedience training to get him more comfortable over there. Hawk was much better than in official training. I did some training and adjusting just beside the stadium and it felt much better. Anyhow I know, that there is not need for much and his mind can fly to space 🙂
Then there came again time for resting and all the opening ceremony etc we went through with Quartz. There was said in team leader meeting, that in opening ceremony can also come without dog, but as we already had Quartz over there we thought that our team will look better if we have at least one dog. It was good training for him also 🙂

The evening ended as usual with drawing.

My philosophy says, that there is never bad draw. In every number you can find something good. Anyhow our draw was really good this time as both tracking and obedience will be early morning and we can do obedience before bitework. So tomorrow we will get a lot of answers to a lot of questions. I am really interested to see these answers.

Here is one picture from the drawing where you can clearly see from my face, that me and Hawk sute well together 🙂

25. April. Obedience

So, I got 75 points. For sure I can say, that I am not happy about the result. For me it is not a aim to spend money and time and travel 2,5 thousand km, to get just some result.
On the other hand I must be satisfied, as several things felt much better than year ago. For me the most difficult thing was, that there is just small door to the stadium and right there starts the work. Last year there was more space in the side of the green field and we could manage to get Hawk to more right state of mind. Now it was so, that my dog looked much much better than year ago and then I went through this door and whole wide world opened to my dog and I saw, how it turned him on and took drive very high. As there was already free of leach zone, I could also to nothing. So for me it seemed like I just step through the door to another world and there my hands are totally tighted and my mad dog is just in the level, I need to do something. Okey, it is all the same to all dogs and it is not excuse. My dog should be better by control. But he is like he is.
So I went towards the raport and my dog nearly escaped, as he thought that now will be sending out and there is pillow waiting 🙂  I touched the dog and got already for this nice minus. Hawk came back and again just until the starting point he nearly escaped another time. I imagine how I looked like someone who has just show up to some big competition and even does not understand where he is 🙂

I gave command and lost again points.
Then started the exercises. Thinking about all this beginning off course dog was making heeling too high drive and it was not nice. For me the biggest win was, that he did everything + coming to the retrieves he was already barking in all three retrieves, but … did not go by himself, but waited the command. I even did not feel the risk, that he is escaping. So thinking about all this higher drive and the beginning I can be glad, as for me the problem with apport seemed the kind a problem, that it is lost for me for ever. Anyhow it works.  All the starts of exercises were not nice heelings but the sit, stay and lay down and also recalls were not bad. In jumps he was a bit crazy trying again jump over the A frame and in 1 meter jump I throwed  to close, so he nearly jumped the meter from from the point he took the dumbell.
Sending out was quick and also lay down was nice, but then he after was moving a bit looking for pillow. Funny part is, that I use the pillow just once a year and it is enough, that he goes so crazy.

In my eyes, ther has been big step ahead, as when I trained before coming to FMBB twice in stadium and Hawk was much calmer and looked nearly ideal, what was even not close to this year ago. He was also OK, when I trained him near the hotel here. So basically I am happy about all this. Big problem for me was, that I managed to do just two weeks trainings in the bigger field because of long winter and snow. For sure it was enough to make all through, but not enough to get everything work together. So I am optimistic for the future and I am glad, that I came here. Getting 75 is 5 points more, than year ago and the judging lines were very similar to last year.

26. Aprill. Tracking

Like for the obedience also for tracking I had good draw. I had to be in the point of meeting at 08:00 and my group of three dogs started at 09:12. So the weather was not so hot jet, there was a little moisture in the field and so it was good draw.
I took in the group third draw. So my track was 09:24. Competition fields are having quite long grass here. In my field there was about to knee height. So it was like 100 points field. When I walked to the field I could say, that field was not any more wet. So probably the heat is evaporating it quickly. Going to the raport I felt the same attitude from Hawk as last autumn IPO-FH competition. So the drive was rising and I tryed to compeat with it. In certain moments it seemed, that I manage to get him to right state of mind, but on the next he was again flying. So I was sure, it will affect also to the tracking. Anyhow I hoped that trainings  I have done with artickles have made the problem with them better. Hawk started with a lot of power really active, but there was a bit too much drive. So in the middle of first straight he checked once. Also in first corner he did small check. Then he calmed a bit and next straight was already better. He also did small checking in the third corner and got line around the leg and it made some problem for him. Thinking about the field, I would like to see little more precise work, but as problem was first straight and corner and also the corner where he messed with line, I could be in big picture satisfied. Coming to artickles he was nicely fast, layed down really straight and it was near to ideal, but took all tree artickles for moment to mouth. Problem was much less than in the autumn, as he did not chew them, but just took for moment, but for me it cost -21 points and zero for artickles. So the result was 71 points. Damn it was disapointment to me. Okey, I understand, that as it was just 5-th track in grass for him and because of the long winter I managed to rain tracking just few weeks. So for sure it is also one reason, but anyhow it is big disapointment. I have also video of my tracking and when I am back home I make it public like also obedience video.

Tomorrow will be bitework and I can say, that I do not feel good at all. As in obedience I already saw, the small door and just after this free leach competition will make problem for Hawk. I have never trained something like this, as I have never been in such situation earlier with Hawk. I hope the best and could be nice to end the competition at least with nice points in C part.

27. April bitework

After the obedience I was really afraid about today bitework, as the way me and Hawk jumped into the stadium in obedience without any possibilities to adjust dog state of mind, I new, that there will be problems in bitework. Anyhow I was training yesterday evening with Finnish people and they told me how they do by their experience and it opened me totally different point of view. I did today totally different and it wa snot ideal, but for sure much much better than in obedience.
As I had bitework in the evening I went in the morning to the official stadium/trainingfield. There were mondioring people doing their bitework trainings. I must admit, that I got Hawk really well in right state of mind and I did some obedience in the same time, they were training beside. So as I told earlier, I think Hawk looks much better than last year and with all this experience I got here, I can improve it more . There is a lot of work to do, but at least I see what has moved to better direction and what is the most negative still.
I took a risk and in official training I did not run the blinds. As it was too hot and I thought, that for obedience it coukd be better, I thought that 1+1 means, better not run. It was mistake, as light blinds were quite similar colour in sun like the wall behind them.
Hawk run first and second blind nicely but on third I was a bit to front and he took by mistake the fifth. I wanted to get dog back to the rhytm and so I called and sent him to the fourth. He run nicely, but again going to the fifth he could not find the right place to go, so he left circeling in the middle of field. I could not call dog to me, as then it would be termination. So I was in the middle of field and Hawk in the end of it. I sent him to sixth, but he could not focus from this point. So I sent again to fifth. Dog did nice fifth and went to bark to sixth. I got disqualified as the dog was not under control. It sounds to me a bit strange as I did not call dog to me not even single time and I sent him two times to the blind and on third command he went. So there was not a single moment, where can say, that dog got three commands and did not react. So if I took rulebook, it is difficult to understand the reason for disqualification. Okey, I understand, that dog did not find the right blind and he was confused, but not a single moment he was not loosing control. I know, that it is difficult to be judge in the field and decide in seconds, so I do not blame and for sure my dog was not doing correct blindsearch, so anyhow I would not get any good points, but anyhow it is pity I could not see the whole schema and Hawk action in it.

So FMBB is over and tomorrow morning I will wake up 04:30 to start 2200 km drive back.
Here a couple of words about our trip. First of all I would like to thank all the people who were cheering for me and kept fingers crossed. This support means a lot and it made feel so good. Thank you all and sorry for disapointment I made.
As bad as I failed in this FMBB I have never failed in any world championships. Somehow everything got badly together : in obedience I got new experience I have never had, when I jumped into the stadium without any possibility to adjust the dog, in tracking it seemed that just few weeks training period was too little to get track to order and in bitework running blinds went totally wrong as I was too selfconfident and in the same time we had really too little experience with 6 blinds after the winter. Adding here the really strange disqualification what was not made by the rules, it will be like full packeage of unpleasant things packed to one week.

Also I can say, that it is so difficult to go to such competition, when you can train just two weeks all things for what you need big field (jumps, sending out, searching blinds, retrieves, long attack etc.) + tracking. Even at home I thought, that everything seems nice, here I felt how this time was too little to get everything work properly.

Coming to positive comments I would say, that I was really glad to find out, that Hawk is so much better, than he was year ago. It came out in the trainings I made beside the hotel, it came out when I went to train to the stadium near mondio people. He was so much better balanced and I think for sure, that it will be seeable also in this year starts.

For sure I can say, that I got really a lot of new experience I never had. This was 10-th year for me to participate in some world championships and it is funny, that I am finding all the time new things to me. This experience for sure helps in future  to build up own dog better and train others also better. It sounds stuped to make 6 days travel about 5000 km to get new experience, but unfortunally it is only way.
For me these two weeks were just wonderful, it was nice vacation, so so beautiful Slovenian nature and off course good chance to meet all different friends in this big event. These all positive details for sure balance this trip to positive part.
We lived in really nice small hotel, where we had nice green field just behind our house and forest beginning after that. Every morning and evening we went walk dogs there we met some “bambies” who were not very afraid of us and not running away. All this nature, these walks, chating with friends etc. makes this trip to Slovenia something what I will remember for long. I am back at home after 2 days driving and then I post on beautiful pictures I took here. This is how our mornings and evenings looked like: