Rally and Manners
Here's Marge hanging out in the car before we went in to class.
I was completely determined on Sunday at Rally to keep Marge from barking at our Golden Retriever classmate. So, we waited waaaay back away from the door as he came in, to prevent Marge from being right in the line of Golden-happiness fire. It worked! We enjoyed a very peaceful class and I rewarded Marge every time she showed interest in him (she even snuck in a few sniffs). Marge gave a lip curl to one of our other classmates, but it was my fault for putting her in the situation, any way. She "redeemed" herself later on, by sneaking away from me when she was offleash to go over to him and play bow. Silly girl.
We also had one really huge moment.. Marge was in a down-stay across the room while I was helping to clean up the Rally equipment with the rest of the class. One of the handlers' significant others (a man) walks in to the room, and Marge begins to growl and her hackles raise. But, she did not budge. She was obviously threatened by the situation and may have felt even more restrained by the fact that she was in a stay, so I quickly went over to her, fed treats, and released her. She had no problem after that. Despite the growl, I think she handled herself very well, and I think I handled the situation correctly, too.
The Rally itself was very good - her best so far in the class. She is doing pretty well with being offleash. We've learned a lot of new signs, and nothing's stopped her so far. We'll be back in the APDT Rally ring on August 14, in hopes of accumulating some points in the 1B class and debuting in the 2A class (which is off leash).
Training, But Not Marge
We began our second session of the Pet Agility class this week, which I am assisting in. Because we've got a full house of dogs (seven) of different sizes, we split the room in two. I had three big dogs that I was working with - a Gordon Setter, the fearful Mix from last time (who has absolutely blossomed), and a reactive Shepherd Mix.
It's a lot of fun teaching people new skills and showing them ways to bond with their dog. Marge stayed home this time, because I didn't think the excitement of a brand new class of dogs (new to both her AND me) would be a very good thing.
We did have one incident where the Shepherd Mix suddenly broke from his handler and went off to the other side of the room, which really scared the hell out of a poor Dachshund, but thankfully a scuffle was avoided. His owner was really upset, but I told her that I'd been down the reactivity road before. I'm going to help her out and teach her some clicker/conditioning games so that we can curb this behavior using positive methods. He seems to have a bit of a chase drive, and doesn't have much tolerance for rudeness from other dogs. But he is also very in-tune to his mommy, and has a superb recall. Honestly, he's a bit like Marge (I say that a lot, don't I?).
The dogs got to practice recalling over 8" jumps and running alongside their handlers. They also learned how to go through a short tunnel and picked their legs up through my agility ladder.
Back on the Field
We finally had agility tonight. Marge was just as happy as I was to get back out there. The time off was really good for her - she was definitely a bit worn out from agility after our last trial (Marisa even said the same tonight).
Nice little course. Very flowy (probably what we needed to get back in to it)...
- Started with Marge on my left, pushed out to 2 and then ran down the line to 5.
- Front cross 5-6, ran ran ran to the tunnel.
- Up and over the A-Frame just fine. Hit her contact BEAUTIFULLY (and didn't creep too much, either)
- No problem out to the double, and hit her weave entrances each time. She did weave a little bit slowly, though, and popped out once when I got too far ahead. Weaves are something we'll work on during our next private lesson. My hunch is that Marge is not liking having to switch back from 24" weaves at trials to 22" weaves while practicing.
- No other problems what so ever on course. Lots of pulling. The 18 tunnel wasn't bad at all.. she only missed it once when I changed direction before she committed.
She was a little speed ball tonight. Didn't sniff, didn't wander off or make up her own course. I think it helped a lot that there were only two other people there (her PWD friend, and Spirit, a Golden who I walk a couple of days a week, who Marge is mostly tolerant of). I got to run Spirit, too, and we did really well together. She's such a neat dog!
And I will now end this post with a picture of my dear cat checking out a foot-long zucchini that we grew in our backyard. It was tasty, and we've got more of them on the way. Notice she is sans cone - finally, the nose has healed!