Thursday, March 13, 2008

3/13 Agility

I'm so proud of my girl! Iris was so good during class tonight. I decided to spend the beginning of class just really getting her settled and relaxed, and I think it helped.

I started Iris off in her crate while we were setting up equipment. In hindsight, I should have put her farther away from the door because I know that's a trigger for her. So she was barking at people coming in, even with the crate covered. If I'd had it completely covered to begin with, she might have been fine, but my initial thought was that she'd stay quieter if she could see me (which did work until someone came through the arena door).

When class started, I had her do some work inside her crate (mostly hand targeting because she likes doing that, and also rewarding her for eye contact when she could hear people moving around). Iris did react when another dog got too close to her crate, but otherwise she was good. I waited until I thought she was pretty relaxed before I let her out. When I brought her out of the crate, I did a combination of attention work and click/treat for looking at other dogs without reacting. There was a jump chute set up and other dogs were running down the length of the arena and over the jumps. They weren't running directly toward Iris, but they were running into her general direction. The first dog that ran toward us was Carmen. Iris looked at her and then looked back up and made eye contact with me. Good girl Iris! I was so proud! A few weeks ago, I'm sure that she would have exploded at a dog running anywhere near her general direction. I definitely think that was a breakthough for her.

After I thought Iris was pretty relaxed outside of the crate, I played the space game with her and worked on the "wait" on the contact board. She was able to work on the contact board without barking once! She's never been able to really do that with me. I think she knows the contact board enough that she thinks she can do it without paying attention to me and instead looks for other dogs. Tonight she was really focused on me, and I tried to keep her moving so she didn't have an opportunity to explode. She did great!

When I walked her back over to get some more treats, she went into her create and lay down. I guess she needed a break! So I let her rest there for a few minutes and did some hand targeting when I could see her starting to peak around me at the other dogs. When Katrin called us over to work on the teeter, Iris walked through the middle of the arena, with dogs standing to both sides, and she didn't explode! She even looked up at me a couple times while we were walking!

Iris did much better waiting on the teeter tonight than she has been. I think she'd love to rocket off, but she's definitely learning that she needs to wait for it to hit the ground. She did lunge at another dog as she was coming off the teeter the first time. Katrin started having me stand away from the teeter so that Iris would run off the teeter to me instead of over a jump and toward other dogs. Iris did much better.

After the teeter, everyone worked on three jumps that were set up so that the dog had to run in a circle. Because each dog was running individually, Iris had to wait through all of the other dogs going (we went last). Iris actually lay down next to me and let me rub her belly while the other dogs were running! I couldn't believe it. She wouldn't have lay down that long a few weeks ago. We were sitting away from the other dogs who were waiting, but it's still progress! When it was Iris' turn, Katrin asked the other dogs to step outside so Iris would be less distracted. My handling needs work, but I guess we can only have one breakthrough a night. :) Iris was a little distracted, but she was happy and running around. I definitely think she enjoys playing the agility game when she isn't worrying about other dogs.

After the jumps, we immediately did the dog walk for the first time, which Iris had no problem with. Then she was done for the night and got to retire to the car. All in all, I'm so proud of my crazy Aussie girl.


Katrin said...

And you should be Proud!!!! She and you BOTH did AWESOME last night!!!! C/T (click/treat) all around :-)

Jules and Ikey P said...

It's true. I still can't get over what wonderful attention she gave you when Carmie was running the jump chute. And giving you her belly while we were working on the pinwheel! You are both doing a great job!

Blue said...

Seeing her succeed is a good enough treat for me! :-)