Sunday, June 26, 2011


Bug and I had a rally lesson this morning - we did last Sunday too. The pieces of our heeling are starting to come together. The footwork is killing me. I feel like I am in gym class in 4th grade trying to learn to dance! Hopefully that will get easier with time.

Today in addition to working on turns we worked on halts. As I mentioned, I had a brutal time with the footwork. First I flat-out couldn't make it work for me until I started chanting, "Left, Right, Match" when I heard "Halt" to remind myself of what I wanted to do. Then every time I halted I fed Bug instead of waiting for him to halt and feeding him. Finally I got it through my skull. It was positively reinforced by the fact that once I did it correctly Bug halted by himself SO MUCH NICER! than he had been. Bonus, I remembered to bring my Flip and Katrin videoed us and I can watch me doing it correctly and incorrectly!

I have moments of being frustrated with this (rally/obedience). I don't find it as fun as agility. Of course we are building the foundation and that is the slow bit of any training experience. At the same time I feel frustrated, I also feel excited as things start to come together. It is so fun to see Bug try so hard at whatever I ask him to do. He really does have a lot of heart. He's a bit weird about space and pressure, but he really tries hard, is smart, and it does show.

We are having some trouble with pivoting. Bug does not seem to like to step sideways with his rear. I am going to talk to the chiro and the PT (at Katrin's suggestion) to see if it might simply be that it is uncomfortable for him physically and/or if it would be beneficial for his hips to keep working on it. If not we might try and see if we can train an alternative.

I am feeling good about our progress and our teamwork. Slowly but surely we are getting there!


Katrin said...

obedience doesn't have the "instant gratification" that early agility training can. obedience is a lot of foundational small parts of skills that you build into a whole. in beginner agility your dog can potentially be doing jump-tunnel in just a few lessons. I'm sorry you find it frustrating at times, once the parts come together it really is a lovely thing to watch.

Sara said...

Rally takes way more than I ever thought. I think it is a great bonding activity.

K-Koira said...

Sounds like you guys are making big strides in the learning process. I think once we humans train ourselves to do the right thing, it makes the dogs do it almost naturally.

manymuddypaws said...

how are you teaching the pivot? Sometimes I find that they just really don't know what to do with their butt way back there. :) I used a perch and it helped Pixel to understand WAY better what I wanted from her.

Jules said...

@Katrin - Even though I am feeling some frustration I am not put off by it. I think it is a normal part of the learning process. As you know, I won't give up even if I am frustrated! :)

@Amanda - I have been doing loads of perch work with Bug at the suggestion of both Katrin and my agility instructor. That is why we think it might be related to his hips. When we see the chiro and PT on Tuesday I am going to have him adjusted on his perch in addition to trying to get their thoughts on it. I am open to trying just about anything if you have any suggestions.