Sunday, February 20, 2011

Classes: Agility & Rally-O

Tuesday night Ike and I had agility class. It was a challenging course and for the most part I felt like we handled it really well.

We did struggle during one particular sequence. Coming off the A-frame you went right over a jump and were then supposed to call your dog into you and bring him past the table into the tunnel. Well, I have either rewarded tables a bit too heavily in the past or Ike firmly believes if an obstacle is in front of you you must take it. We had a really hard time with this - because of my handling!

Kathleen put up a gate and Ike had to think really hard - did I truly NOT want him to take the table? We practiced a few times with the gate up and I continued my forward momentum, called him "here," and rewarded him in a timely manner. The final run of the night we nailed it! Yay, Ike!


Saturday Bug had his first Rally Obedience class. He was such a good boy. When I was doing Rally with Ike Bug stood in for one class - other than that this is the first time he has done Rally (he has done a Beyond Basics pet obedience class). He did really well! I was very pleasantly surprised.

Initially he was a bit nosy about the signs and I have to work on my heeling - perhaps actually put a word to it? But he was much more successful with the "Left About Turn" his first time than Ike was and he also did the "Front, Right Finish, Halt" nicer than Ike did the first time.

He seemed to enjoy working with me and was very engaged. His "Right Spiral" was gorgeous. I love looking down at him and seeing that alert expression and big ears gazing up at me oh-so-attentively.

What was really funny was many things Jennie said yesterday echoed things Debi H. was saying in her seminar last weekend! At one point I was looking at the next sign because we had only walked once and I wasn't really sure what was coming up. Bug forged way ahead of me. Jennie asked what I was looking at. I told her. She asked where Bug went. Well, of course it was where I was looking. So pathwork is applicable to Rally too!

At another point we did a "Stop, Down." As we started to move on Jennie asked how I had released Bug. I said, "with movement," with a sinking feeling! Drrr. Debi had just spoken at length how people believe they release their dog with a word but it is actually paired with movement and if you make an effort to release your dog with just the word you will often see them NOT move because they believe they are being released with the movement (hence so many broken start line stays). She suggested taking a deep breath, saying your release word, and then moving. She said it is hard to train yourself to do since we are so accustomed to the paired cue. Anyway, I need to work on using a release word more accurately.

I was also impressed with how Bug handled distractions while we were in the ring working. he was distracted but still continued working. He didn't stop completely, nor did I lose his attention completely.

I enjoyed the class and am looking forward to next week.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Oh no...I think I release Oreo with movement, in fact he looks for movement for almost every command. Such a hard thing to break.

Glad you had some good classes with both Ike & Bug.