Agility - And Lots of It
Our performance training has almost solely focused on agility for the past month or two. Marge has improved in leaps and bounds. I am still seeing start line stress, which I'm not happy about, but she's dynamite when she's on course. More attentive than she ever has been.
For my next two trials, the plan will remain the same - very short lead outs. If I don't lead out at all, it tends to make the run less structured for her because she doesn't understand the whole unclip-and-go start to a course.
Our first trial of the year is this Saturday - we're doing one run, JWW only. This is because I really did not want the stress of running her in Standard for her first time at a trial in about 4 months (and at a brand new place on a brand new surface, to boot!). The trial site is also quieter towards the end of the day, which I think will be good for her. Our friend Spirit, the Golden Retriever, will be there, which I hope will make Marge happy. This trial is a BIG deal for her.. and I really hope she likes the trial site.
A Bit of Barkiness
One thing that has cropped up to a very small degree is Marge's dog reactivity. It's a bit different than it used to be and I'm not quite sure that it's really rooted in fear.
She has been getting barky at agility class watching certain dogs run. Now that we're in an Excellent level class, the courses are harder and the dogs are more driven. I think she's feeding off of their speed and energy level. Once they come back to the sidelines to sit with us, she is paying them no mind (whereas in the past this would, at minimum, lead to raised hackles and general worry on Marge's part).
Time to go back to Look at That, I think. Quite frankly, it's so mild that I am not worried about it at all, especially since I know how to combat it. It might actually be a GOOD thing for trials - I mean, I won't be that girl with the annoying barking dog standing right at the ring exit, but perhaps the fact that she is more amped up in an agility setting will detract some from the worry and stress that she sometimes feels. I'll experiment.
New Folks, New Exeriences
I had a couple of friends over on Sunday. I put Marge in her crate while they came in and settled on the couch (which is not far from her crate). She let out one "WOOOO!" while in her crate because she knew that there were people nearby. I waited until she calmed down (10 minutes or so), and then let her out.
Not a hackle raised. Just what I want to see!
She was not very privvy to being petted, especially by my male friend, but took treats from them both, investigated them thoroughly, and then sprawled out on the floor just a few feet away. Very, very successful, especially since it's been a LONG time since she's interacted with strangers in my basement.
We also made a quick trip to PetCo for Layla's food on Saturday. Marge did pretty well in the store - she was a bit uneasy, but was responsive to me, took treats, and searched for yummy stuff on the floor. She interacted a little bit with two store employees, whose hands she targeted with her nose.
She got a Natural Balance food roll and a bag of biscuits out of the trip. Unfortunately, she heard some loud noises on the way back to the car and panicked, but took treats once she had climbed in.
And that's Marge's current training, in summary. I'd write more, but on top of everything else, I'm getting sick again. Sinus infection and pink eye. Lovely!