Thursday, June 4, 2009

Weave Weave Weave!

We got the weave poles in the mail yesterday and have been having a ton of fun with them. In just two days - yesterday and today - Marge is nearly able to weave with the poles straight up, instead of in a V shape. I have heard good things about the channel method, but unfortunately these poles can't do that. She seems like she's picking up the whole idea quickly, anyway. It's really cool to see her bend the way she does. She really likes it, too, because she's willing to go out and do it when its drizzling (which she normally hates). It will be interesting to see if she does as well with them while we're at class, and how well she graduates from 6 poles to 12.

Our CGC certificate, too, came in the mail not long ago. We took some pictures with it and the whole CGC thing felt finally official, but it also served as a bittersweet reminder of where we were just a month ago and what we're facing now.

I forgot to mention about a small reactivity incident we had at Tuesday night's agility class. Marge had gotten through the whole hour superbly in regards to other dogs and didn't really pay any of them much mind. At the end, however, just as we had left the ring, a small-ish, long-coated dog starts running fast zoomies around the field. Marge tensed up, went to the end of the leash like she wanted to chase, I body blocked and offered treats, but I was too late. She barked a couple of times and then I got her settled down. We remained in the spot for a few more seconds until she was completely calm and focused on me; I treated and we walked away.

It could have been worse. The best part about the whole thing was that I know what set her off: the running. Back in our (ugh) dog park days, she would chase other dogs who were running and sometimes vocalize as well from time to time. I guess back then I didn't realize that it could possibly be a not-so-friendly response. Plus, the dog was small and furry.. and uh, she'd do anything to chase a squirrel, so I'm not sure if there's a connection. It seemed different than the other reactivity incidents that she's had lately.. I know she wanted to chase that dog, regardless of why. I'm not really sure if she felt like she needed to "protect" herself (as in a response to fear) like she did near my house and at Rally. I didn't notice hackles up and even the tone of the bark was a little different.

The incident kind of woke me up though. The whole agility class in general did, actually. Between failed recalls, distractability (if that's a word) and not LEAVING IT, I need to work on my attention/management commands a bit more. We've been practicing leave-its and watch me's, and also attention after glancing calmly at whatever' or whoever's going by. I know these kinds of things are going to be so important if we ever graduate to Novice Classes, where almost everything is offleash, so I'm trying to be really diligent with it.

Otherwise, I am happy to say that she has had no incidents in the past couple of weeks. Her attention has been very good on walks; we've taken advantage of the rainy weather and hit the streets a couple of times today.

I'm proud of her. I'm glad that we're taking these precautionary steps and eliminating interactions on walks. I feel like its giving her confidence and letting her know that she doesn't need to worry about anyone.


Kimberly June 4, 2009 at 10:17 PM  

I haven't seen Bell. Due to issues in the home I had to move back to my moms. I will see Bell tomorrow night and you can BET I will post it as soon as possible. I heard she's doing fine though. Her dad and I had dinner tonight and I bought her some Benedryl for dad to give her! Hope it helps even if just a little :(.. thank you for asking :)

Sue June 4, 2009 at 10:24 PM  

It sounds like you've made a lot of progress. There's always more to do, but you'll get there.

Rufus and Indie June 5, 2009 at 6:28 AM  

Marge is definitely a pro!
Rufus and Indie

Sue June 5, 2009 at 12:33 PM  

Where in New York do you live? I'm from Syracuse.

StellaStar June 5, 2009 at 12:40 PM  

Yeah...some of those little doggies can look like tasty squirrels. Congrats on the CGC award! I'm always amazed when dogs do the weave poles. I wish I was that coordinated.

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart June 5, 2009 at 3:26 PM  

Weaving is a hoot. Good for you girls!

NCmountainwoman June 5, 2009 at 10:16 PM  

Marge has made such terrific progress I don't think you should worry too much about a little backsliding.

She looks great weaving the poles!

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