Friday, March 21, 2008

ABC #11 - A-frame!

Ms. Carmelized Onion continues to rock my ABC world. She is so much fun!!

Last night in class we started with a pinwheel (3 jumps at 90 degree angles) tunnel series. At one point due to my inability to give Carmie adequate directions/information she took off and did the teeter. Well, okay now!! As Katrin said, Ike would NEVER have done that. This pinwheel/tunnel was the first mini sequence we did last night and Carmen and I weren’t quite tuned into each other, so it was a bit choppy. I am so used to Ike that I don’t move fast enough/give info quick enough for Carmen. The way I disseminate information and the speed at which I do it is something I need to work on – it will end up benefiting Ike (and future dogs) as well.

Next obstacle on the schedule was a teeter tunnel combination. During Carmen’s “wait” on the teeter I treated her closer to her chest/under her chin which helped force her to rock back more. Yay! Last week I was accidentally treating her too far forward. Ah, mechanics….

Carmen is such a fast little bugger! Katrin asked me to have Carmen wait on the teeter while I moved ahead into a bit of a lead-out and then released her for the tunnel. As I said last week, Carmen is forcing me to work on waits and lead-outs! Not a bad thing.

Next we introduced the A-frame. A competition A-frame is MUCH larger than the Agility-for-Fun A-frame (and Carmen didn’t see much of the MSPCA’s A-frame!). Three exciting things happened while we were working on the A-frame, at least I think it was the A-frame. First, Blue and Iris (AS) took their turn (I think, maybe this was during the pinwheel?) and half of the dog/handler teams left the barn and half stayed. Carmie and I stayed in the barn and Iris ran over to check out Carmen who was standing up on my leg being treated. Carmen didn’t do ANYTHING!!!! Holy dog gods! Carmen is very insecure and often she can be pushy bordering on inappropriate, so the fact that she didn’t feel the need to react? She gets and A-plus for the night! Iris just wanted to sniff and she returned to mum, so she gets an A-plus too. I was trying to be proactive by treating Carmen with yummy Evanger’s duck, so that might have helped a bit. I think Carmen and I are making definite progress in defining what needs to be reacted to and what she can trust I will handle.

Second, Carmen actually did the A-Frame. Considering she has never seen such a big piece of equipment she handled it well. She tried to figure out how she could be treated without actually getting on it and then realized, I guess I need to get on. Good girlie! So Carmen climbed on and we had her turn around at the top of the contact, take a step down, treat, and release. We did this a few times - Carmen showed more hesitation about this piece of equipment than any other so far. The first time I tried to have Carmen complete the frame I interrupted her momentum and she got kind of “stuck” above the contact. Katrin suggested I put Carmen at the very top of the A-frame so she could see the other side/the descent Carmen said, “oh you just go down,” and down she went. Yay, Carmen.

Third, amazing thing? Katrin held Carmen while I helped Shaya and Tom (Tom isn’t so fond of Katrin) with the A-Frame. When I returned to get Carmen, Katrin told me she was very good (less whiney than other times) AND she stood up on Neil for attention! Wow. See Neil, I told you, she likes men! And Carmen was very good with Ms. Makin (Vizla)!

Numbers 1 and 3 might not have happened during the A-frame part of the class, but I can’t recall exactly when they happened, so I am saying it was during the A-frame!

Final obstacle we worked on was the dog walk. Carmen books it and she is starting to have a pretty nice wait. I put my hand in front of her face a couple of times last night and Katrin reminded me that, 1. I can use my body, and 2. I am not always going to be on top of Carmen and capable of doing that, so I might as well stop now! I can’t get over how little fear Carmen has and how reinforcing she already finds the obstacles. Makin, Neil’s and Lael’s Vizla, also finds the contacts very reinforcing!

Additionally we had two dogs (Sheltie-pup and Cat w/Tessie) in class that aren’t usually there. Sometimes the change in dynamics can make everyone act wonky. Not so last night. Yay!

I am having so much fun with Carmen and I really think Carmen is having fun too. It was a great class. Kim who has Opal (the Greyhound) brought beautiful cupcakes to celebrate. Opal and Tom (who belong to Kim & Shaya [mother-daughter]) both had a great class so the celebration was warranted!


Katrin said...

Corrections- cupcakes were to celebrate Tom's 4 year adoption anniversary.

And ALL the dogs and handlers in ABC ROCK!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!

Jules and Ikey P said...

Ahh!! I wasn't clear. Very cool!

Shelly said...

YAY--sounds like it was a great class!

Blue said...

Carmen was so good about my nosey Aussie girl. I was impressed!

Jules and Ikey P said...

Andd all Iris wanted was to be sure of what exactly those other doggies were up to. Good girlies.