Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Obedience and Agility in one post

Competition Obedience, Class # 7

Well, I suppose it had to happen - my class was kind of a bummer last night. We practiced heeling with left and right turns. Argh! We had a VERY difficult time. We also practiced Stand for Examination. Ike and I have only been practicing this at a sit since he is such a nervous nellie.

In general, I am having a hard time with Ike and heeling. I think I need to send Esther an e-mail. I also need to practice lots more.

Reminder to self: there is a learning curve, accept it. And as my kind husband reminded me last night, if this were easy everyone's dog would be competing and have their CD.

It's funny, the thing I found most useful last night was something that had nothing to do with class. I wanted to ask Esther a coupe of questions about class and we were standing near the entrance to the training area. Darwin the 4 mos. old Husky was coming in and Ike barked a bit. I told him to "quiet" and turned back to Esther. She told me to back away from what set Ike off, have him do something, and then rewarded him. She suggested backing away because, "Ike might be right - that dog might be about to attack. By backing up you can keep your eye on the other dog."

Wow! First of all the way Esther so quickly pointed this out from Ike's perspective, in a simple manner, drove home a point I have heard one-hundred times. Secondly I appreciate her using all opportunities as a training opportunity and understanding Ike's personality so well.

It was also a good reminder that I have become a little bit less attentive to Ike in situations where before I would have been watching him like a hawk for any cues he was about to have an outburst. I have to remember good behavior doesn't stick around on its own - I need to reinforce what I want/have so it doesn't disappear!

Agility - More Chances

We worked on Chances again this week and Katrin had the dog walk out. So, the course...ugh...too confusing for me to put in written word - I could draw it! There was a pinwheel, two switches, and two tunnels nested together so you had to tell your dog to "Get out - tunnel" in order to have them take the correct tunnel.

It appears that Ike and I need to begin practicing with our board at home again. He absolutely can not do the dog walk or seesaw without my right by his side. I don't know why I think this is so bizarre - he is both a little bit of a velcro dog and a scaredy dog! He handles jumps and tunnels fairly well from a distance and this tells me I just have to practice more on the SeeSaw and dog walk. I will be setting up some tape at home and trying to get him to do his board from a distance!

We have not practiced our "Get Out" nearly enough and yet he successfully navigated the nested tunnels. I must have given him the proper body language!

Ike was not really into his kitty yesterday, so we are going to try his toy that you can put food in. I think I might also order some rabbit pelt and see if I can get him going about that. Maybe if I let the G-Pigs (I have three Guinea Pigs - Izzy, Alley, and Zeek) loll about on it he'll be interested; he adores the G-Pigs.

While agility was difficult, working on something that hasn't yet become natural for Ike, it was a good kind of hard. It definitely helped to alleviate some of the discouragement I was feeling after Monday's class. I have to calm down and remember I have just started training for comp. obedience!

On a side note, I am dying to get Carmen into Katrin's Foundation class - we'll have to see how my schedule pans out this fall winter. The more I think about her personality and the more time I spend with her I really think agility is a perfect fit for her. Last night I discovered she likes to play tug!!!

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