Friday, April 25, 2008

Weave Pole Class #1

Thursday was Iris' first weave poles class. Two of the dogs in class were also in ABC with us. So, we already know Makin the Vizsla and Carmen the Miniature Schnauzer. The other three dogs are another Aussie and two mixed breeds (I can't remember any of their names). One thing I like about the class is that it's a mix of more experienced and inexperienced handlers. I think I'm going to learn as much from watching the other handlers as I will from working with Iris myself.

The class is all about weave poles (surprise!) but we practice them in class as part of course. Katrin let me borrow weave poles so we can practice (thank you!) and at homes we'll be working on the weaves a little more individually. I do have some jumps though. We're training weaves using x-pens attached to the poles as guides. Gradually, pieces of the x-pen are taken away until the dog is doing weaves without guides.

Class was more obstacles in a row than Iris and I have ever done. Needless to say, Iris' brain was all over the place. There were new dogs, new smells, and new people. It was all very exciting for a little red dog. I had her hang out in her crate when it wasn't our turn, which seemed to work out for her. Next class, I think I'm going to try to have her out of her crate a little bit doing attention work while we wait.

We did three different courses, and other than being so distracted, I think Iris did pretty well. Initially, she had some trouble with me leading out at the start. She'd run straight to me instead of into the tunnel. This is definitely something I need to practice more with her. I've been working on rewarding her whenever she checks in with me. I think it was a combination of that and me not being clear about signaling her into the tunnel that was confusing her.

Iris was the only dog in class to turn around halfway through the weaves. She was convinced that Katrin had awesome treats and was hiding them. Then Iris decided that since she was already backwards, she'd try just going in reverse. Does she get bonus points for creativity? I also shouldn't have thought it was funny when Makin jumped on top of the tunnel because shortly after, Iris decided she also wanted to be on the tunnel. Maybe she misses the contact obstacles? Silly girl.

Iris is still a brat about the other dogs. Other dogs barking at her while she's running sets her off the most (even though I think the other Aussie is really cute, I'm worried Iris is going to antagonize that dog). Staring is also not allowed. I think she takes it as threat and goes on the offensive. In some ways, I'd like to get her more excited when it's her turn to play agility, but I'm always worried that it'll just made her more distracted and reactive (but I could be wrong, I've never tried it. Maybe she'd forget to supervise the other dogs).

I left her in her crate while we cleaned up. I should have run her up to the car. Iris was not impressed that there were other dogs running around while she was locked up. I know if she was on a leash and the other dogs were playing, it'd drive her crazy. I suspect that many loose dogs would push her over the edge, while one or two would be fine. She has played with Monty, my aunt's dog Louie, and of course Henry Beagle, although she thinks the Beagle is a chew toy and not a dog. I walk her at the state park and usually people have their dogs loose. She almost always greets dogs nicely on leash (rambunctious dogs who bounce right up into her face get a growl). Everyone else probably thinks I brought a ferocious beast to class. Nah, she's just kinda crazy.

I did get in some practice with her tonight. She was having so much fun! I have no problem getting her revved up at home, and she was doing a great job coming out of the poles at a gallop. I had her do a jump then weaves (or weaves then jump). She was doing a lot better about making the jump after I led out, but in her enthusiasm for running, she kept over shooting the weaves and having to turn around. By the end, she was doing better. At least she was excited about playing!


Katrin said...

You both did a good job. I think you are not 'cool enough' though when in class! :-P And that might be why she keeps 'checking out' on you to go see what else is going on. Cuz, you're kinda booooring and she sees no reason why she should dote on such a boooooring person when there is so much other cool stuff going on! Other dogs, new people, my cookies, etc. I think if you get more engaging and animated, she'll get more engaged and animated with you and hopefully ignore everything else a bit more.

Jules and Ike said...

Ohh, I can't wait until next week! We missed missing class (Yes, I am speaking for Carmie, too!).

Blue said...

Katrin, I think you're right that Iris thinks I'm "boring" during class. I'm shy and worried about her with the other dogs, and so not really very animated with Iris. I'll have to remember to make more of an effort to be fun and interesting next class!

Julie, we missed you and Carmie in class too!