Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Act-Up BBQ, Comp. Obedience decision, and Ike's "fun-plate"

Ike and I did not go to playgroup this weekend. : ( I was planning on going to playgroup and then going immediately to the Act-Up BBQ. However, when I opened the Act-Up e-mail invitation I saw that it started at 10:00am! Yipes. I was late but still washed tons of tunnels! The BBQ was Act-Up Agility Club's annual meeting and equipment prep for trials and fundays. When I first arrived I didn't expect to know anyone other than Michelle and her husband Mike. To my pleasant surprise a woman who was in Ike's foundation class is a member and was there with her two flat coats and a woman I met at the Susan Perry Seminar I attended this spring was there. And of course, everyone was super friendly. I think I was a little bit quiet for me...

It was an interesting experience for Ike. I brought his soft crate, put him into it, and went to work. At first he was pretty quiet but then he started barking nearly non-stop. I did not return to him until I was done cleaning tunnels, so a couple of hours. He was overjoyed to see me! I think it was a very stressful experience for him. I think it was good for him to be in a situation where there is a lot going on and he stays in his crate and not then have to go "work/play." It was kind of like a dry run for our first trial.


I have decided not to enroll Ike is a second Competition Obedience class right now for a few reasons:

1. $$
2. Time - I feel torn between practicing agility or practicing obedience

Right now I don't feel like I am able to give either sport adequate attention and that is not what I want. We have so much to work on in terms of what we learned in just one eight week session with Esther. And to be honest, since right now I HAVE to make a decision I am choosing agility. My thought is, I can practice what I learned in this session and then depending on when my schedule opens up enroll again. I don't know if Esther does privates, but I know I could always talk to Katrin about doing a private lesson in obedience.

I loved doing the Comp. Obedience class because Esther is an excellent instructor and it was all new to me. But I didn't have the time to truly practice my obedience lessons regularly OR my agility lessons. Hmm...that leaves me being the type of student I do not want to be! I am bummed, but happy I was able to make a decision! I think it is a good decision for both myself and Ike; I want to set us both up to succeed!

So last night I found myself with some extra time and a wide awake dog. huh-huh - I whipped out Ike's target plate. We haven't practiced with this in about a month (see above - lack of time). Ike had not forgotten what to do. I started with the plate about 5 ft away and was quickly able to put the plate further away than I have ever put it in the past. Okay, I thought. For my obedience class I had cut down a lid to fit in my hand and I used that last night, too. I started back at 5 ft and then was quickly able to move the plate out to around 10 ft. Since Ike is piss-poor at generalizing (I know, most dogs are) this was huge!

What intrigues me about Ike and the target plate is how overjoyed Ike is to "go-out" to it. He gets so damn excited and does a playbow to the plate. I am really curious to see if he retains this joyfulness at class. If so, this might be the way to get him truly excited about agility - much more so than a toy. He is pretty inhibited with toys at agility. Major bummer. Of course, I could be more religious about working at him getting excited about his toy.

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