Last night Carmen and I attended Erin's Wednesday night class. It runs 6 - 7:30 and is outdoors - cue my angst about Carmies eyes. We were expecting thunderstorms and there really was no sun - everything was a bit gray. Uh-oh?
While we had a couple of odd moments I don't REALLY think they were related to her vision; I think it was primarily the new location and class combined with a little bit of poor lighting.
It was a much more "technical" course than we usually see, It is probably fairly typical for an AKC/USDAA style course. There were lots of wraps and having your dog go by obstacles in order to take other obstacles. I have discovered in the last 3 weeks that if I ask Carmen to go BY an obstacle to take another obstacle she thinks I am lying and cuts behind me to take the obstacle we are passing. Bear in mind in these instances the next obstacle I am trying to bring her to is not necessarily visible - so she thinks I am on drugs and trying to send her off-course (or at least that is what I suspect she thinks).
While I have no intention of running Carmie in AKC or USDAA it does show me a gaping hole in my training. I plan on practicing the blind cross exercise until we hopefully have it down pat.
In other news, the course last night contained 12 weave poles which Carmie performed successfully multiple times from nasty angles (granted I took her wide in an attempt to try and set her up to succeed). Yay, Carmie!! I have a solid six weave pole performance from her currently but we haven't tried 12 weave poles without cages ... ever ... I don't think. I was starting to work myself up into a tizzie about it, which just goes to show you shouldn't worry about the future until you know what you've got.
Carmen also did the chute successfully multiple times. Considering how long it took for her to become even the teeniest bit comfortable with the chute I was floored that she did it for me in a new location without cajoling.
The odd moments revolved primarily around contacts, which is unusual for Carmen. I think perhaps she is out of alignment. Erin said she appeared to be moving fine, but if she avoids contacts, typically her pelvis is out. Second obstacle in the first course was the teeter. Carmie put two paws on it and took them off - went around to the side of the teeter and put two paws on it again. Weird. Then she took it and that was it - she was fine with the teeter the rest of the night.
She went around the a-frame the first run-thru. This is where I mentally say - 'Oh, I think it is her pelvis." She did take the a-frame subsequent runs and in fact blind crossed me to take it at one point. When she cut behind me to take the a-frame the light had changed significantly and she perched. This only happens when she is having trouble seeing, I know for a fact.
I think I have finally come some sort of comfortable space with Carmen's vision loss. I am never going to know in which instances it is her eyesight versus a training issue or a combination of the two. I think I need to act like it is training or personality and brainstorm about how to get my dog back in gear. It will take me a while, but I think it is a more successful and optimistic way to think about it.
6 days ago