On Sunday, we had a training session with my friend and her Westie, S. I was originally set up to be disappointed, as Marge heard loud sounds in the parking lot while we were waiting to go in to the training hall and got all stressy. (She also hates interacting with dogs when she's like this, so she did send a snark or two poor little S's way.) I put her in a crate inside the hall for a couple of minutes for her to cool off, and the sounds seemed to have gone away (though, as I loater found out, it was simply that we couldn't hear them inside the building), so she calmed down.
We ran Rally first. Our first Rally trial is Saturday and Sunday, so I wanted to get in one more practice before then. We set up two courses - the AKC course from S's recent debut (where she qualified!) and then another course with some APDT signs in it. Marge did pretty well. I have been fine-tuning some of my handling, trying to exaggerate my body language to better prepare Marge for making right turns and lefts. It seems to be working.
Then, we did some agility. I didn't want to overdo it, since we're back in to the swing of outdoor classes and don't like to over work Marge, so we worked on the teeter, the weaves, startlines at the tire, and some directional stuff. I helped S and her Mom with back crosses, too.
By then, Marge was feeling fine, and had a little play-bow/chase session with her friend. At the end, I snapped a photo of them looking up at the tempting roast beef in my hand. Aren't they cute together? Both S's Mom and I are thrilled that they get along - we're roughly in the same stages of our training, so it's going to be nice to have a trial buddy who Marge likes. We're hopefully going to have another training session together in two weeks.
Marge's walks have been mostly uneventful. We've been doing a lot of walking in the field, honestly. It has been quiet, so there hasn't been much to test her on, BUT she is dealing decently well with the things that she does encounter, like construction noises. She's perking waaay up when she sees dogs, so I really need to go back to the clicking and treating for both looking calmly and then making eye contact with me. (Strangely enough, strange dogs really aren't a huge issue at doggy sport events.) The warm weather is always a challenge for Marge, as she seems to react more strongly to stimuli when it's hot out. We've been doing roughly one long walk a day, and sometimes a shorter one thrown in.
I want to continue walking her at night, but I'm being very selective about when I do it. Friday and Saturday nights are usually no-no's. If it's too warm, I usually scrap it, too. I do NOT want her to hear a firework and then decide that all walks are bad.
I want to start heading back to the parks, but haven't yet had the time.
Speaking of Fireworks..
We have had a few. Already. #@%$#! On the plus side, I'm pretty much grabbing treats as soon as I hear them and feeding Marge. She isn't running away as badly as she used to, but she is still getting pretty scared. I know I need to step the conditioning NOW if I want the summer to be bearable.
I've thought about playing firework sounds on the computer, but most of them go EEEEEK-POP and she is really not ready to deal with the high pitched "EEEEK." She reacts the worst to that. She's been doing better with whistles, sirens, etc., so I'm not sure I really want to touch that at all. If I play regular bangs and booms on the computer, she usually doesn't think anything of it. Hmm.
I might get some bubble wrap for Marge to go crazy with. She really did love the game in the past where I clicked/treated for her stepping on the wrap and making the popping noise. That might be something to do again.
We're going to agility tonight and also having a private lesson afterwards. But, so that this post isn't ginormously long, I'll save that for another day!