Last night in Carmen's ABC class I ran into an invisible wall, literally and figuratively!
The first exercise we worked on involved sending our dog to the table from a distance of maybe 4’ – we then added a jump and the tunnel. Katrin, as is her wont, had drawn a line in the sand – as I was running along with Carmen when I got to the line I stopped dead. Katrin asked, “what did we just discuss on Tuesday?” I started listing things: support your dog, reward right choices, etc. Katrin said, “What did you write a WHOLE blog post on? TRANSITIONS!!! What are you doing?” Ummm, running and then stopping dead at the invisible wall?
It should come as no surprise to me that re-training myself is going to take more than one magical night. After all, I have been working with Ike and agility for 4 years and I just figured out what I need to change. That’s 4 years of handler muscle memory, habit, etc. It is very frustrating. However, knowing what the issue is has got to help.
I think the fact that I am working with Carmen as well as Ike will help ease the transition (ha, ha). Since Carmen has had no training I am conscious that I do not want to “ruin” her with my thoughtless (bad) handling!! Ike and I are both remedial cases, with Carmen this is her foundation.
I was really pleased with the Onion last night - she figured out the go to table very quickly. Carmen is much more willing to try things without me on top of her. It makes sense, Ike and I have a history of me babysitting him. She actually wagged at me when I was trying to get her a bit riled up before going into the tunnel. She rarely wags! This makes me happy – I think she is REALLY enjoying class and working.
We also tried the teeter last night. First attempt Katrin held onto her harness and Carmen turned into Ike – she froze. I picked her up and took her off the teeter and tried again with no Katrin. Carmen went up and waited beautifully. The next few times she actually drove down the teeter after I released her – I mean really showed some speed. Yeah!! We will definitely have to work on driving up the teeter – she is kind of creepy on the way up.
I think Carmen and I need to be VERY sure to continue to work on eye contact and the space game. She and I aren’t as tuned into each other as I would like, so I need to continue to build on the little rapport we’ve developed.
3 weeks ago