The whole car ride there, my mind wavered between thinking it was an awful idea and thinking it'd be a worthwhile experience.
Turns out it was the latter of the two.
We totally rocked in Novice class last night. Not only by my standards - the teacher called our work "fabulous" on one occasion (I think it was the recall) and said it was obvious that we'd practiced a lot at home. She seemed surprised by the fact that this is my first dog, my first competition dog. Scary, considering the fact that the last Obedience class we took was Beginner 2 in the early months of 2009 and save for some tips from friends, have had absolutely no formal competition training.
I have tons of work to do if I'm going to do this right, no doubt. My footwork is completely screwed up, particularly on the about turns. Marge and I ran in to each other on more than one occasion, but we also had better heelwork than I ever could have imagined in a brand-new class setting. And, now I know what I need to work on (cueing the about turn by turning my body when I'm stepping on the right foot!!!!). I'm also not making the traditional T shape when doing the about turn - it sends Marge wide - so we're modifying it a bit.
We dabbled with the stand for exam. She stood there and barely paid attention to the instructor, who did not touch her (by my request), just walked up next to her. We practiced heeling offleash. We performed the recall exercise, and Marge's front was so lovely that I threw her a little party and forgot about the finish.
We did stays. She held both the sit and down with no problem what so ever. Even put her head on the floor on the down. Didn't matter that there was a strange Cocker Spaniel next to her. She didn't even look at him - or any of the other dogs in the class, for that matter.
I really enjoyed it. I think Marge did, too. Her focus was the best I've seen in a while out of ANY of our activities. I'm kind of impressed with myself, too.. I really had no idea that I had trained her to such a high level on my own by reading, studying, and watching others.
So, yeah.. as if I needed to add another activity to my busy schedule and Marge's growing agenda, we just might keep at this for a while and see where it leads us.
Stay tuned until next week - I think we're going to go to class again.