Sunday, July 20, 2008

Final Communications and Competition Heeling

Okay....I may love agility, but Ike loves obedience (even with his kicked out tush). He grins the whole dang class, every single time. It is mind blowing to me. I must get even more excited about obedience so I can pursue this with the boy. I think I might go so far as to say it is his niche. I find it a bit overwhelming - which is I was so excited for the heeling class. I have no background in obedience - aside from an 8 week course about a year ago with Esther Z.

Funny, I have come full circle. I took the Comp. Obedience class with Esther because I thought Ike was not enjoying agility. Then things really started gelling with agility and I focused on it, finished up the C.O. class and didn't return. Well - Ike doesn't like to trial and he doesn't think agility is as great as I do. So....while I have found the past few months of agility classes with him to be awesome, i.e. he seems to be very happy and in FAST Ike mode, it does not compare to the way he is in Competition Heeling class. He gets jazzed up about heeling.

I think I have said on the blog before that I highly doubt we will never be able to do comp. obedience, what with the stand for examination and Ike's fondness for strangers. Rally, however, is a whole new possible frontier for us and now that heeling makes more sense to me, Ike and I might be able to pursue it.

A few thoughts - I think I need to slow my "normal" pace down for Ike. I have been thinking about this over the week and I tried to do it today and I feel like Ike was better about being "with me." I tend to speed walk and I think Ike is a southern gentleman at heart - there is never a good reason to rush. We worked on transitions today and I think mine were choppy but I feel like Ike handled them pretty well.

I need to work on keeping eye contact with the boy, and walking a straight line. I have discovered this is difficult for me! I will have to shoot Katrin an e-mail and ask her for her feedback. I am pretty pleased with the outcome of the past six weeks - I have LOADS to work on, but I feel like both Ike and I gather that THERE is a concept called heeling!

In Bug's final Communications class we worked on the target plate and going over jump bars to the plate. Even though I think it was hotter and more humid this weekend than last weekend, H-B seemed like he wanted to work more for me. Yay! He still thinks the jump bars are weird and will go out of his way to walk around them. This is something we will be working on a lot - I somewhat-jokingly told Katrin I planned on having jump bars scattered throughout my house.

We also worked on playing in public today. Unlike Ike and Carmen, Bug does not have an issue with this. He loves stuffies, squeakies, and tug - and could care less who is about to see him play. Hooray! (Added bonus - he is not a toy-destroyer!)The heat did put somewhat of a damper on the play - sustained play was just not a good idea and Bug wasn't up for it.

Next steps....Ike is getting an official six-week break. Gulp! I think we will attempt to do some drop-in Rally classes and practice at home. Carmen is taking Katrin's Jumps class which focuses on correct jumping form. I am excited about this - especially since I picked up the Clothier Natural Jumping Method about a month ago. Starting in August I have Carmen entered in at least a trial a month. I really need to work on her weaves so we can enter NADAC Regular classes. I have been lax about them, so I think that will be a focus for both Schnauzers in the coming weeks. Bug will be taking Katrin's 5 Directions class. Should be interesting. He picked up on the target very quickly - I can't wait to continue to figure out how he learns and thinks.


ann & partner said...

You could use adjustable curtain rods or adjustable shower rods and put them in your door ways for Bug. They won't mark your wood work and Bug would need to use them many times each day. This coming from someone who missed class. But I enjoy reading about what we missed.

manymuddypaws said...

I am glad for Ike! It really does sound like he is enjoying himself with the heeling.

With your change of pace you can try to make longer- not shorter strides. It works surprisingly well!

Jules said...

I will give it a whirl!

Blue said...

Agility, rally, herding, earthdog, and conformation - what sports are you missing? Flyball? I saw that video of Bug with a tennis ball. Now who will do tracking? :-)

Jules said...

Blue, Don't give me any ideas!! Or I'll be chatting Nancy up! ;-P She and Remy just got their Master title!

Ike and Bug are the tracking candidates.... :D

Blue said...

I'm giving you ideas? You're the one who already knows which dogs are the tracking candidates. :-)

Congrats to Nancy and Remy! I bet Bug would be a good height dog...