Thursday, November 5

Rally and Agility

Roofus had a daytime rally class this morning. It went even better than the last one! He seems to be picking things up very quickly (unusual for him), which is no doubt because he is extremely eager to please. The only problem is that I have to have a treat in my hand the whole time, because he is very easily distracted at this stage. He saw we were being followed by a "judge," and proceeded to go visit her and root through her pockets looking for treats, LOL. He also doesn't like the door opening and closing at the building... He has a very strong flock guardian instinct, and he constantly has to know where everyone is. When people come or go, he feels like he needs to bark at them. I figure he's a bit annoyed that they didn't announce their plans to him beforehand.

One of the teachers told me Roofus is an awesome working dog and that he's going to do really well in Rally. I think he is too. :D In January, I'm going to sign up for Rally classes with Kym at Anything Goes for Dogs in addition to the informal classes at BRAG. She has such a positive, upbeat training style and Roofus responds really well to it!

Last night was week three of Popper and Merlin's agility classes, and they swapped good nights again. I'd love to have a good night with both of them, but apparently that's not to be. Last night was Merlin's great night. He had a crappy contact on the a-frame, but he did really, really well overall. Several instructors told me I need to trust Merlin more and give him some space. I'm really working on it, and I know I CAN trust Merlin, but I don't have quite the same relationship with Merlin that I do with Popper, so it will take some time on my part. I've also got to remember that while Popper may like me super close while he runs, Merlin would prefer I just let him do it without breathing down his neck. It's kind of hard to have dogs with such differences!

Popper's night was almost miserable. The highlight of his class was his beautiful rear crosses into tunnels. He used to be absolutely terrified of them, but I took a private lesson with Kym at Anything Goes for Dogs and we drilled them with tons of treats. I practiced big time at home, and they're just gorgeous now. He has no hesitation at all. However, that's pretty much the only time we can do a rear cross. I'd say 75% of the time, he's very scared if I try such a manuever with him. He'll stop running, put his ears down, tuck his tail, and look for all the world like I just beat my dog. Everyone tells me that with time he'll gain confidence and those reactions will fade. I sure hope so.

Popper also completely died on the weave poles. We've been having this problem, with 12 poles specifically, where he will speed up towards the end, and end up skipping poles. I've been working with him, but I can't seem to fix it. We got to class last night, and he did the poles once and absolutely refused to do them again. One of the instructors told me to reteach the weave poles, that it happens to everybody at some point. Sigh... I wish I had twelve poles of a matching set. Right now I have 2 sets of six - one is a very nice channel weave set, the other is a cheapo PVC set that doesn't channel, but bends. So I can't run 12 channeled poles at once, they have to be straight. And I think that's what I really need to do. I also wonder if having some word I can say while he is weaving would keep his spirit up and keep driving him. He has to CONSTANTLY be reassured and complimented while we run, or he loses interest and starts sniffing. Disengages. I think 12 poles may be too long for his beagley mind to go without something from me.

So, to sum up - Merlin's doing great, Popper's having some setbacks, and Roofus loves Rally. :)

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