Saturday, March 8, 2008

3/6 Agility Class

On Thurs, I brought Iris' crate to class. I'm hoping that by having her crate there as a "time out" spot, I'll be able to get her to relax and focus more when I'm working with her. My intention is to put her in the crate when she seems to be getting overloaded by the other dogs' activity and then do some simple work with her in the crate (sit, down, hand target, etc). I only used it once with her on Thurs, but I probably should have done it more often. I need to get better at seeing when she's just having a little reaction and can get back to work right away vs when she's too overwhelmed and needs a break.

In class we worked on a bunch of different things. First, we did a sequence of tunnel, jump, table. The goal was to have Iris do the tunnel and jump then go to the table and down a few steps ahead of me. I thought she did really well with this. She got really happy and bouncy when I was working with her. She even had a short bout of zoomies. Silly girl. But at least she was having fun, and it was probably the most relaxed and playful she's been in class. For the most part, she was good about working with me, although she was taking the down on the table as an opportunity to glare at the other dogs. I just hope I can get her to a point where she can stay in "happy play" mindset the whole class. She did take off to go see one of the other dogs, but at least when she got to the dog, all she did was sniff. Still, she needs to learn not to do that.

After that, we practiced the teeter. At least Iris isn't afraid of the teeter! She does everything with enthusiasm, I'll give her credit for that. She has no problem being on the teeter, but she does it the same way she likes to do everything - fast. I need to get my contact board sand painted tonight so I can work on "wait" a little more with her. She has no problem doing it right on the contact boards in class, but I know if I let her, she'd finish off her teeter performance with a flying leap! Again, she did take off to check out another dog when we were doing the teeter. I'm worried about this becoming a habit for her. She's ok once she gets to the other dog, but it's really not fair to the other students in class for Iris to be charging around.

We also introduced two new obstacles: the tire jump and the chute. At first Iris wasn't sure what I wanted her to do with the tire jump, but once she figured it out, she had no problem with it. It's so cool to see that light bulb go off in her mind, "Oh, so that's what you want me to do!" I think that moment is one of my favorite parts of training. She was really comfortable going through the chute if Julie held the end open. She was able to do it with the end mostly closed, but not completely. We'll get there.

Between all of that, I worked with her on "wait" and also spent a lot of time just rewarding her for looking that the other dogs without reacting. I do think that's helping her. This week, I think I'm going to try and focus on "wait" on the contact board. Also, I want to work on building up a better "leave it" to see if that helps with her problems with the other dogs. Plus, I want to do more moving stays with a "go" to target. Hopefully, I'll be able to build a couple jumps this week. I need to work on "down" too. She's always been a little slow with down, so I want to build up speed on that for the table.

We have a busy week!

8 comments:

JULES & IKE said...

You both did great in class last Thursday, I even commented to Katrin about it! You both seemed more relaxed.

Blue said...

I do think we were both more relaxed. I think one of our problems is that when Iris starts getting reactive, I start to worry about her misbehaving. She picks up on that, which doesn't help either of us out. Now I just have to remember to stay more relaxed!

Katrin said...

And great art site too!

Blue said...

Thank you! :)

JULES & IKE said...

I always joke aboujt taking Rescue Remedy myself!! Ike definately feeds off of any anxiety I have. Your art is fabulous.

Blue said...

LOL! I should try Rescue Remedy before class...

Thanks for the compliment about my art!

Lael & Neil said...

Love the art!

I think everyone is doing great in class. The progress that everyone is making is nice to see. I think we have all lucked out. Everyone has different challenges and we can learn from everyone else.

Blue said...

I think all of the people in class have done great. I'm going to miss everyone when the class ends in a couple weeks (which is easy for me to say because my dog is the class loud-mouth)!