Thursday, November 17, 2011

Judging this weekend

Tomorrow we are heading to Barrie, Chad, Aydon and all the dogs are along for the ride. On Saturday morning I am judging Rally for the NSDTR trials. The entry for the rally has been really great for the whole weekend. In fact the club had to assign overflow judges. Who says obedience entries are dying!!!!

I am really looking forward to judging on Saturday. My courses are ready and photocopied and my judging bag is packed. I am really hoping that my toothache subsides enough that I don't have to judge with an ice pack held against my face!!

Whenever I judge it always gives me some great ideas for things to do in classes, so heads up for some new drills and handling ideas!!

Happy Training

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gali’s first utility leg


Well we did it!! Gali got his first leg today. For me it felt good to get back into the ring at the end of the class. Gali always has a good time showing so he doesn't mind one way or the other. He worked hard and did some really nice stuff. We missed the sit at the end of the seek back which was pretty costly and because of the string of unsuccessful directed jumping exercises I think he thought he should add his own twist to the exercise and laid down instead of sitting on the second go out – again costly, but we will take it.

I was really happy with his heeling and his fronts and finishes. It was his third trial of the weekend, which we have never had an opportunity to do before, so he hung in there really nicely. His articles were fantastic all weekend. His signals were great except for one trial but that my fault, Gali has graciously accepted my apology and we have moved on.

Here is the funny part. My friend Susie Bell and I were waiting for the end of the class and some of people I get to help with their dogs were waiting around for the end of the class to see the results. It was mentioned that perhaps we should get our dogs ready for a run off. Gali was sound asleep in his kennel, so I got him out and started to wake him up. Sure enough we got called in for a run off. In Utility the tie is always broken with signal heeling. I have known this for a long time, the judge reminded me this fact and when she said forward I promptly said, "Gali Trot." Silly, silly mistake. I was tied with Susie, so needless to say she won the run off. It was funny and we both took some ribbing, but for me it was also a reminder that my concentration level is not back to what it was before I lost my parents.

So I guess the theme to our weekend was that I am still healing while Gali keeps on heeling too! It felt good to be back out and hang out with the friends and support them and their lovely dogs.

Happy Training

Friday, October 14, 2011

Heading into the home stretch

I was just emailing someone about classes and they were wondering when the next set starts after the November session and I wrote, "the next session will begin in the New Year." I can't believe this year is coming to an end. Although from a personal stand point I am glad to see it end. But I haven't achieved any of my doggie goals this year. I am a little disappointed in that. I am entered in some trials next weekend (3) and then some more at the beginning of December and then I am heading to one of my favourite trials (Sudbury) just before Christmas. I hope that Gali can wrap up his Utility before I have to enter Sudbury because I would like to play with doing some OTCGX/MOTCH work with him at the Sudbury trial. He is working great and I am really looking forward to getting him back in the ring. I think that once he gets his first leg the other two will come really quickly.


It also feels good to be back writing again. Truthfully I escaped the house today and I am over at our new library enjoying the peace and quiet (and wifi). It is rainy windy day – perfect for writing and staying indoors.

I am going to a match in Barrie tomorrow. We are going to make a little family trip out of it. We are packing up all six dogs and Aydon and staying in a hotel over night (more wifi!!), going to the match in the morning for Gali and Ribbon to work in a new environment and then a leisurely drive home to see all the fall colours and find somewhere for the dogs to have a big run.

Happy Training

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting ready for the fall


I am ready to get back at it. I have Gali entered in two trials before the arrival of my relatives from England. I am excited to be going back into the ring again. Gali has been working REALLY well. I have done several run throughs over the last few weeks and he aced them all. I have also been doing regular short training sessions to keep his heeling, fronts and finishes crisp. The thing that I am particularly impressed with is that at the end of each training session Gali doesn't want to leave the training hall. He wants to do more. That is a nice feeling for me, but I have to find a way to end my training session and not have Gali sulk all the way back up to the house.

After spending the summer re-working my go-outs and directed jumping I feel like we are ready to go for it. The plan is to trial during the fall and finish off the OTCH title. If Gali is still working well then I plan to put him in for OTCHX/MOTCH and see how far we get before the end of the year. In the spring I plan to get Ribbon ready for her CD and give Gali some time off, so it will be an interesting run to the end of the year.

Lately we have doing quite a bit of videotaping of runs and then reviewing them during class. I love it when people see their dog on video for the first time. There is a big difference between how the dog feels and what the dog looks like from the judge's point of view. Because I always get this view, it gives me great pleasure when the handler says, "hey he looks really good!"

Happy Training

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sniffing right along

Ribbon is progressing so well on her articles. We are off the matt now, which is always an exciting step for me. She did great today. Her attitude couldn't be any better. She blasts out to the pile, finds her article makes full eye contact with me and then runs at me full tilt. I have been alternating hiding behind the chair and letting her chase me once she has her article or having her front and then tossing the article for her to retrieve. The only problem I am having is that she is growling (playfully) at me as she is returning the article, but I can't see this becoming a big problem.

I have done a silly thing though, that I will have to fix. While setting out my articles and placing the ones I want to scent on a chair, Ribbon comes running over to see what we are doing. I have let her choose her own article from the chair to scent, which has blossomed into Ribbon wanting to be in the chair. I think this might not be a thing I want to teach her, but it is pretty cute and she always picks a different article to start with. Today was metal and yesterday was leather.

I haven't done many formal sends, just a few to give her the idea. Lots of time for the precision part, right now I just want her to love doing the exercise.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I thought my border collie was...

I thought my border collie was getting lazy. So I set out this morning to work her continuously for 40 minutes. I had a variety of things that I had planned, utility articles, duration exercises for heeling, turns, halt, hidden retrieve games, play sessions with a toy, front exercises, signals, go-outs. As it turned out my border collie is not the one getting lazy!!! I made it to about 30 minutes then needed a break. So now I am feeling bad that I have not worked my dogs enough. My life had been a little upside down, I have been normal some days and others quite sad, to the point that I just want to sit still. Well, I can't do that forever.

I worked Ribbon again this afternoon for about 10 minutes of obedience and 10 minutes of agility because I am entered in a trial this weekend, so I thought I should put an effort in. Ribbon worked great, such a great little dog. All this work in one day and she had already been for a big romp with the other dogs. I also worked Gali on his utility (which is a whole different post). He is also running in agility this weekend. I am actually looking forward to it.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mom

I can't believe that I am about write this but, On April 27th, 2011 my Mom passed away. She died the day before what would have been my Dad's 70th birthday had he not died very suddenly on November 14th, 2010. I can't quite comprehend that both of my parents are gone and in such a short time. My Mom had been suffering from depression over the loss of my dad. In March it got bad enough that she really wasn't eating and had lost some weight. She went on some medication and she started to get better mentally, but still wasn't interested in food and had troubles finishing even the smallest meal. We took her for another visit to the doctor and when he saw how much weight she had lost and how low her blood pressure was he had her admitted to the hospital that same afternoon. She had a blood transfusion and some fluids and seemed to perk up. She started eating and I thought things were on the mend. The next day we got some results back from tests and the news wasn't good. It seemed that Mom had a mass in her colon and another on her liver. We were shocked to hear over the course of the day conversations with doctors that went from treatment options, to palliative care and within hours being told that she didn't have long to live and we should get our family and friends together. The word "Stunned" doesn't cover how we felt. That was Tuesday and Mom passed the following day at 5pm. We have had her service, but I still don't think it has all sunk in. Support for my family has been pouring in daily and it makes us realize how lucky we are to have each other and the people that make us smile every day. So yet again I have been absent from this blog because of a family loss.

Last night I had a dream that I was competing with Gali, but at the same time I was also sitting on the side lines watching. When I woke up I realized that the dream was trying to tell me to get back to doing what I love but at the same time take the time to do things I need to take of myself, so that when I get back in the ring I can wholly be there to do my best. My "TO DO" list for this weekend included the words "Train Gali, Train Ribbon" and I intend to do just that.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Short and Sweet

Last night after classes were over, I was goofing around with Ribbon and I was practicing some handling while tossing a toy for her.  The cool thing was that she left the toy and came to heel with me.  We did a few turns and some halts.  Then I broke it off and played with her.  I was also impressed with the fact that she stayed to  interacted with me, even though she could have left and played with the toy, but she thought it was more fun to play with me!! How cool is that?!?!?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Getting somewhere

For the past two weeks I put myself on a self-imposed front and finish 14 day push with Ribbon. I did fronts and finishes every day, for a few minutes. Sometimes I did them in my living room, the training hall, and the kitchen and once I even did them in my closet. I went in there to get changed and Ribbon followed me in with a toy in her mouth wanting to play so I took advantage of the situation and had her do some finishes with her toy tucked under my left arm. When she completed the finish correctly I dropped the toy to her and then played with her. It was fun. The improvement is immense. Her finishes are much more polished and animated. I figured out my right finish signal. I hadn't been happy with her response to my usual signal, but now she is jumping up out of her front position and makes her way quickly to heel position. She has also greatly improved her precision work. She is remembering to tidy up her front feet and line up her body in a straight line. The best part is that her eyes are very bright and she is feeling very proud of herself.

For fronts I played this game with her where she was sent to lay on one of couches and called to front going between two small ottomans to front position. I found the ottomans were most effective if the one on my left leg was further away from me that the one on my right leg. Since Ribbon often sits with her rear end tipped to my left the ottoman on that side prevented that mistake. After a few days I set up further away from both ottomans so that she had to take more responsibility for organizing her body in front position. She certainly made some mistakes, but she was also thinking about it. I kept up her motivation with a high value reward and made a game of sending her onto the couch to lie down or sit before calling her to front. Also I could set up off angle recalls so that she had to work even harder to front proper front position. She is doing quite well. When I was working her in the training hall this weekend she gave me a whole bunch of perfect fronts. I was even more impressed because she was this accurate from about 50 feet away in a full canter.

In my current session of classes, my friend Susie Bell offered to teach one of Novice classes so that I could train Ribbon in a class with distractions. It is a big class, 10 dogs and lots going on. This is exciting for me because this is something we have been lacking in our training. So thank-you Susie! This means that even if I get really busy I get to train Monday night in Rally class and then Tuesday in the Novice class.

Happy Training!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gali north, east and west

This weekend I did a whole mix of things. I cleaned the house, did the laundry, took Aydon clothes shopping (always interesting), went to a Guelph Storm hockey game (also with Aydon), puppy tested Susie Bell's 6 week old lab puppies, watched the leaf game (sigh), finished my bookkeeping for last year (I am now ready to file!!!), started bookkeeping for this year, all four of us went out for a really nice dinner (I even had dessert) and ....I trained my dogs three days in a row ( happy dance!!).

I have been obsessing over Gali's go out problems, so I spent some time figuring out my plan of attack. I looked through my book and lo and behold I found something that I had forgotten all about. When Megan was having problems going out over the jumps instead of between them, I set up a chute of broad jump board from the inside standard of each jump gradually narrowing to the location where she was to touch the barrier and sit (or just sit depending on what I asked her to do). It worked really well because it was difficult for her to make a mistake and this was always the best way to teach her anything because she simply hated to be wrong. I decided to give this a try. I set up two lines of broad jump boards on their ends about 2 feet apart gradually getting wider and wider apart. I spend two sessions just sending Gali through the chute to the wall. I kept him away from the visible metal supports that are every 16 feet in my training building. Then I added the jumps and organized the chutes so that the inside standards of both the jumps became the entrance to the chute. He did really, really well. Rewards were high (meatballs), chase and tug o war sessions. I randomly asked Gali to touch, then sit or sit without touching or sit/touch/sit. It all went very well. The third time I attempted this drill I changed the direction of the go-out, going west instead of north (which is our normal direction). After one set of work I added the directed jumping back into the picture. Gali had to make some adjustments to find a path between the broad jump boards to find a way to the high jump. The first time I asked him to do the bar jump he hopped over one of the boards and then cut in without jumping the bar. I was so happy that this mistake FINALLY happened in training. I said,"HEY" ,which is my catch-all phrase that means "Not what I wanted." I took him back to the bar jump, signalled and asked him to jump it again which he did. I repeated the whole skill again and he did it perfectly. Today I changed it again, the go out direction was east this time and to a line of baby gates. I even paired moving stand before the set up for go-outs to help him recognize that sequence. He was flawless, once he stepped off his line, I think he was going to jump but quickly switched back and continued on his merry way. So good for him for thinking his way through it!! Such a smart boy!!!

The next steps are to change the direction again, reduce the visibility of the chute boards and take it on the road, good thing spring is almost here.

Tomorrow tales of training Ribbon

Monday, February 14, 2011


Just finished training Gali this evening.  I hate to speak negatively, but our training session was not very successful.  Good thing is it only Monday!!! Warm up was not very good, signals fell apart. Although during the run through - they were spectacular!!! Go-outs are still troubling, but it will get better as the week goes on-- right??

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Yesterday’s Training Session

Yesterday we had a great session of social club. I got to do a few jobs around the training hall and it was nice to have some company. When I finally got to train my dogs I had such a great training session that I felt like I accomplished month's worth of training. For Gali he got to heel and work through a utility run through with many dogs around and people coming in and out of the door. Bonnie helped with the moving stand and both Patricia and Bonnie helped with my little problem of Gali not wanting to jump on the side of the ring where the other dog is working or people are moving around. He had no trouble with it, he noticed for sure, but he motored on through – GOOD BOY!! It felt so nice to have addressed the problem. His heeling was lovely and I spent some time on front and finishes – Gali is awesome at finishes, so that is always fun to work. Sits on his go-out were perfect!!!

I traded Gali in for Ribbon for the rest of the training session. Again it was great to have so many different dogs around. We had 2 boxers, St. Poodle, 2 Min. Schnauzers, 2 Am. Cocker Spaniels, English Cocker, Min. Poodle and 3 Goldens – it was a party. One thing I realized about Ribbon is that she is only medium dog savvy. When she saw Dawn's Min. Schnauzers she was quite fascinated. A few minutes later Dawn wanted to go for a walk with her dogs, so Ribbon and I decided to tag along. After a moment of telling Torin (silly, lovable in your face St. Poodle) that she didn't want to be crashed into they all ran around and had a great time. She tried to lure the Min. Schnauzers into running around in the deep snow, but they weren't gonna fall for that and stayed on the path. Torin, however thought his long legs were up to the task, so they raced through the deep snow, jumping over snow drifts. My favourite thing about having dogs is watching them run around for the simple reason that they feel so good!! So this sight was a real treat. Ribbon got some nice experience running and playing with dogs of two different sizes and she completely enjoyed herself. Okay, back to training in the hall. With Ribbon I worked on some broad jumps, I had some wait problems, because she was still pretty excited from her walk and then I plopped her in front of a jump. I did some dumbbell work and worked on waits and fronts with the dumbbell in her mouth, she did great, once she dropped it as she sat in front of me, but quickly snatched it up and sat without having to be told again. I worked and novice and open recalls and yes I even remembered to work on calling her to front from the drop. She is still not quite sure about that, but she is getting better. When I worked on my fronts I had my ah-ha moment for this session. Ribbon has usually got pretty good fronts, she might be a touch off like a quarter point front (if that point deduction existed) but lately she has been quite off, always on my left leg and her body is not straight. I thought she might be anticipating the left finish, but I realized that her poor finishes started when my back started to hurt me. My right side is quite sore in particular my right leg is hurting. I bet that I am putting more weight on my left leg and twisting my upper body so that I am not in pain. I'm sure that is the answer!! I got my fronting chute out and used it a slightly different way. I put my toes on the cross bar, this helped me distribute my weight better – guess what...straight fronts. Now you might be thinking that it was because of the chute, but earlier she had been sitting improperly in the chute, in fact for the first time she started to sit with her back leg outside the chute, she really didn't want to sit straight, so I think I may have found the answer. In my next session I will try two things:

  1. Place only the bar under my toes and
  2. Get all of my weight in my heels (both of them) – maybe I could also take Advil before training?!?!

Well I am off now to trim my dog's toenails, I am sure they are looking forward to it, and then I have to get the hall ready for the match tomorrow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Match number 2

Last Sunday I went to the second of three matches with Gali and Ribbon. This was also a new environment for my dogs. Ribbon went in Novice. She did a fabulous job. I remembered to let her investigate the area before asking her to do any work. She had also had a good romp in the snow with her favourite Buhund. When I got her ready to practice some heeling she was fully focused and ready to do her job. I was really impressed. I did a few short sessions putting her back to relax in her kennel in between. I found a corner that was matted to toss her dumbbell around and play some games with drop on recall. It went really, really well. On the strength of her confidence I did my Novice run with food in my pocket but not in my hand for the entire run. I did reward after each exercise and play with her for a few moments. Her figure 8 was spectacular, I was so pleased. In the next door ring Open was going on and she completed ignored the dumbbell crashing against the wall right behind her on one of the about turns. The only problem we had was on her front , she is tipping off to the side as she gets within a foot of me. So I think I will do the next match with her fronting chute in the ring and see if that helps. The finish was better because I did the signal with a lot more umph (if that is even a word??) In open we did everything up to the drop on the recall pretty formally. Before I set her up for the exercise I played with her for a second and then did a random drop. I think this helped her prepare for what was about to happen. She cantered when I called her and dropped very nicely. Much to my surprise I don't think I have taught her the call to front from the drop (oops). She wasn't too sure, so I just aborted it and played with her. Then she saw the steward approaching with the dumbbell and her eyes lit up. I didn't do any waits, front or finishes. I just let her enjoy herself. I kept the jump low, thinking that she was going to be pretty excited and I didn't want her to hit it. For the broad jump I stood beyond the end of the boards and once she landed and pivoted and called her to front (which was lovely) and her finish was very nice. Overall I am extremely pleased with how she is coming along. It doesn't feel smooth just yet, but we are getting there!!

Gali gave me some more problems... I shouldn't really say problems, because he always tries so hard. He missed the second article because he got distracted by some dogs barking quite furiously not far from the ring and then grabbed the first article he found when he put his head down. The other two articles were great. For signals I decided I was going to be really picky and make sure Gali dropped on the spot, no forward movement at all!! As soon as he moved one front foot, I told him "No" and walked towards him and reset the exercise. I gave a drop signal and he dropped in place. I praised and fed him. When I walked back to the other side of the ring to do the sit signal he had his chin on the floor (looking like his cute little self). I gave the sit signal and he rubbed his chin on the floor and wagged his little curly bum at me as if to say, "Well if you liked that down, you are going to love this!" I know it wasn't the best training response but he was so cute... I laughed. We did get through it and moved on. Moving stand was great. My go outs were not, he came up short (thinking about the sit I have been working on no doubt). Then he wouldn't jump the bar jump that was closest to crowd, this has happened before, so I really need to work on that. Maybe tomorrow during social club I can get people to stand there or heel with their dogs while he does the jumps. I still feel like we are ready, next week I will go into preparing to trial mode. Practicing things in sequence and being more sporadic with my rewards.

Oh by the way Ribbon's Novice run is posted on my youtube channel. Just search for Ribbon Novice Feb2011. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Well that was interesting...

On Sunday I went to a match with both my dogs. I ran Ribbon in Novice twice. When I was warming her up around the different areas of the match, which also had conformation and announcements over a loud speaker from time to time, Ribbon was having a hard time focusing. I tried stationary attention, I tried lots of verbal encouragement, I tried a correction she still had a hard time giving me the kind of focus I know she can give. So I stopped, relaxed my body posture and released her. She immediately started sniffing the floor and acting like a dog in a new park for the first time. I felt silly for making such an assumption that she could work to her highest potential anywhere. For about 5 minutes we just wandered around and I let her be a dog. I put her away and got Gali out for some fun warm up drills. When Ribbon came back out, she was ready to rock and roll. She heeled through puppies coming up to sniff her as she heeled by and baby in a stroller, announcements on the loud speaker. I learned my lesson about her warm up. She needs to explore her surroundings and take some time before she can get down to business.

Because of her first warm up attempt I revised my plan and did my first run through with food in my hand. She worked VERY nicely until we were heeling along the back wall and she noticed a gap in the mats and dropped back out of heel position. I stopped after one step and we repeated that section with some collar tension and verbal encouragement when she stayed in position. The rest of the pattern was very nice. For the last leg of the pattern (right turn, slow) she was jumping up to my hand because she thought I should have fed her earlier, but I just kept heeling and she settled in for the final about turn and halt. Her figure 8 was excellent. Heel free was great and she gave the gap on the floor a small look but kept working. I did get her rev'd up before we hit that location to try to keep her mind off of it. Recall was nice, but I felt so wimpy about my finish that she reacted lacklustre. I have to be more definitive about what finish I am going to use and give my command with confidence. Stays were fine.

Her second run I had food in my pocket but not in my hand and a played with her a lot more between exercises. Ribbon responded to this very nicely and we had a lot of fun in the ring together. On my heel on lead I faded off the wall so that we would be further away from the gap. She glanced at it but kept working and then didn't notice it all on the heel free. So mission accomplished there. Figure 8, stand for exam and stays were great again. I need to work on her halts; she is starting to wrap her head across my legs. I wonder if I am changing my head position too much. I will have to think about that while training this week getting ready for the match on Sunday in another new environment.

Gali was his normal happy self. Heeled beautifully and was very upbeat in the ring. On articles, he got thrown off because the judge asked me if I was ready after placing the article in the pile. I nodded my head which Gali seemed to thing meant go to the pile. I gently called him back to reset the exercise. He seemed to think that I didn't want him to go to the pile. Because when I sent him again, he took the article off the chair. So we restarted the whole thing and it was fine, both articles were great. I will have to get someone to help me set that up, so that I can practice it. Another drawback of training alone I guess. Signals were fine, moving stand was fine. On the first go out I let him touch the wall and asked him sit, did the jump on my right, no problem. Set him up for the second go, sent him and didn't let him touch, when I asked him to sit, he laid down. So I officially have a problem with this. I worked on it a little bit, but then just moved on to complete the exercise. This will be high on my list of things to practice this week. Always nice to have a challenge.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trio of matches

starting next Sunday there are three matches to get out to.  One of which is my building but the other two are in new or fairly new environments for my dogs.  I plan to go to all three matches.  It will be a great chance to see how Gali does doing "Trials" three weekends in a row.  Well four really since the following weekend he is entered in a trial.  I haven't been practicing any run throughs with Gali, just doing some proofing drills and mixing up the exercises to keep it interesting. 
It is funny how time progresses on.  I can remember having a conversation with my friend Susie and saying that I couldn't fathom ever running Gali in utility.  He still felt like "the new dog".  Not that I ever had any doubt about if he could do it or not, but I just couldn't get the picture in my head.  Now I have the same feeling about Ribbon, and Gali feels like an old pair of comfortable slippers.  I wonder how long it will be before I write about Ribbon getting ready for her utility trails??

On unrelated matters...Static electricity is driving me insane!!! my dogs are starting whince as I reach to pet them, knowing there is going to be a shock.
Also, watched Julia/Julie last night - really good movie - watch it if you get a chance.  Now I want her cookbook!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Social Club

One of the new things we will be doing this year is inviting our students and friends to join us for some extra training time. I am really looking forward to it. It is a way to put to the hall to use instead of letting it sit empty. But truthfully it is a way for me to get an opportunity to train with some distractions around. I can do whatever I want, I am not teaching or setting up any drills so it presents are great chance to put some time in on Ribbon and Gali.

The question is, what will I do?

Gali needs

  • Work on cold turkey go-outs in different directions.
  • Signal work from various distances
  • Scent work with focus on fronts and finishes
  • Heeling (my favourite!!)
  • Play games with him
  • Moving stand (because there will be people to examine him!!)

Ribbon needs

  • Rear end work particularly on right turns and outside post of figure 8. The batting cage drill would be good for this
  • Halts with and without footwork
  • Add variety by including signals, jumping and some retrieving
  • Fine tuning heel position with some proofing drills like slow pace turns
  • Fronts with a chute
  • Duration heeling to build up how long she can work for
  • Stand for exam, not that this ever bothers her, but she still has to do it
  • Sit and down stays during distractions and with other dogs (because there will be people to do them with!!)

Very excited!! First on the agenda today though is Ribbon's herding lesson, busy, busy day!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Always and Never

Two words you shouldn't hear when talking about dog training. "I would never do that when teaching a dog to do..." or "I would always do it this way". Certainly my life would be easier if I could say "ALWAYS teach your dog to do a drop signal from a stand" "NEVER let your dog do that." But there is so much opportunity to let the dog show us what makes sense to him please don't cut yourself off to finding different ways of getting to your goal because someone tells you this is the ONLY way to get the job done.

However you should still have a plan of attack on how to teach a dog a skill and you should have in your mind a perfect mental picture for how the exercise should be completed. But the path you take getting there can take many different avenues and keeping an open mind in your training session will keep your training time less stressful for both you and the dog.