Yesterday Ike and I had our first Rally-O class. We almost didn't go as Ike was pretty sick on Friday. He seems to get sour stomach every few months. I need to talk to Anne about building up his gut. Unfortunately this means that both dogs have very obviously lost their pelvis (Ike from being sick, Buggie from rough-housing maybe?). We don't see Anne until 1/7/09. Hmmm....I might see if Cheryl has any availability. I HATE waiting, especially with Bug - I feel like it is *really* important for him to be in alignment.
Back to Rally-O. It is a large class and a puppy play group is going on at the same time in a different section of the building. Very distracting. Very loud. Poor Ike. I didn't bring his crate in so ran back out to grab it for walking the course. We all walked the course together with Jenny the instructor. As we walked she gave us pointers on how to handle the different stations. The stations must ALWAYS be on your right.
The first station was a serpentine through cones - kind of like weave poles that you do WITH your dog! Then a 270 turn. Etc.
The first run through I was not prepared for Ike not to be 100 % focused on me. Oi! What kind of dork am I? I take him to a training facility he has only been to a few times that is SUPER stimulating (noise and three Goldens! [who are all nice though]) and expect him to be perfect and happy?
So, in our first run through he lagged quite a bit and kept trying to investigate the signs and cones at the stations. Every single one! ;-P
We had the most difficulty with the 270 turns (both left and right) and the call to front. We haven't done a call to front in more than a year. He does a lovely set-up which we worked on relatively recently with Katrin's Heeling class, but no fronts.
As the rest of the class did their runs, Ike kept trying to go investigate a poodle named Boodles and was in general feeling pretty relaxed. No hiding in his crate or worrying. Okay, this was good. Maybe I don't need to be a stressed as I was immediately following that first run through. It would be great desensitization for Ike. If he can learn to work comfortably and happily in this environment he could probably do Rally anywhere.
Second run-through I prepared myself with a hand full of chicken and tried to keep Ike SUPER engaged. MUCH better. I am such a clueless mum sometimes!!
After we talked to a nice woman who has a low-key luxury model GR named Joey. Ike was very good with both the human and her dog. This class might be perfect for counter conditioning his negative association with Goldens too!! It was super to see Marlene work her GR boy Kody. He is gorgeous!
This week I am going to try to practice a down-halt (down on left side at halt), call to fronts, and 270s. I think it is most realistic that I will find the time to practice the first two. We'll see.
5 hours ago