This post could also be entitled Carmen & Katrin teach Julie about Handling. Very cool. Working with a different dog, and therefore having to change the way you do things, is so much fun.
Yes, I am such a dork but I am so excited! I like learning. It is hard, and embarrassing at times, but the glow I get from incremental progress is worth it!
Carmen and I missed Weaves Class # 1 due to Ike’s poor decision to rip his stitches out. We only managed to practice about three times, so Carmen was just about to take *a* cage off the weaves. Last night Katrin had set up a nice circular course that allowed the dogs to pick up some speed. It went jump, jump, six-weaves, six-weaves, tunnel, wing jump, jump, twelve weaves, table jump, c-shaped tunnel, jump, and back to the table to reverse the course if you/she desired.
Carmen had some difficulty with the first set of six weaves and she started to circle the weaves like she has been at home. Katrin had a really good point – I don’t want Carmen to think that weave poles must be circled before the weaving begins….that the circling is part of the process. gods, no, please! Katrin lent me a clicker and had me click the entry so Carmen would understand that the entry was important. I haven’t clicker trained Carmen nearly as much as Ike, but the click is still a definite conditioned reinforcer for her – she immediately grasped the entry concept once I started clicking the actual entry. The next difficult spot was the final two poles which was where Katrin had removed the cage – Carmen figured once she was out of the cages she was done. My version of helping her was to put my hand in her face. Oi! I have lots to work on. I did get slightly better as we went on – less hand in the face, more body language.
We had a bit of difficulty with the tunnel too. Sometimes I think Carmen loves tunnels (while setting up she kept going through them), other times not so much. During actual coursework she hesitates to commit to the tunnel – I think she wants to know where I am going to be. So, this is something to work on. I think I should work on some jump tunnel sequences with nothing else so I can get her over her strange belief that I am going to disappear while she is running the tunnel and build some speed.
I was really pleased with her performance on the set of twelve weave poles. Every time she got to a section where the cages were removed, Carmen stopped and sat, like what do you want me to do? However, when I actually exerted some patience and waited - she thought about it and continued weaving. Yes!! Such a smart girlie.
It is a full class and lots of dogs that Ms. i-wanna-b-reactive doesn’t know. So, I was foolish and was too close to the door as people and their dogs arrived. Sigh. When Meeka (AA), Callie (AA), and Molly (PWD) arrived – three females – Carmen was obnoxious. Ugh. Next week I will be far away from the barn door and better prepared. I didn’t even have my treats out yet. Bad mum!
Overall I am really pleased with last night’s class. I learned a lot during my run with Carmen and watching the other students work with their dogs. It is amazing the variety of learning styles in one class – of both the humans and the dogs.
5 days ago