Monday, June 23, 2008

Heeling #2

Ok, very funny. Who switched dogs with me on Sunday? Class was great, and the dog I had was well behaved a mostly focused. It couldn't have been my dog. My dog is never that well behaved!

In all seriousness, Iris was awesome on Sunday. At the beginning of class, she gave me perfect attention while other dogs were barking, and she was in much closer proximity to the other dogs than she can usually handle. She gave me attention even when she wasn't actively "working" (usually I have to keep her doing something - backing up, targeting, tricks). This might have partly been due to the fact that I restocked my treat supply with some of Iris' favorites, including string cheese. Whatever works! She was happy to relax in her crate while we waited her turn, and only gave a couple "woofs" in response to other dogs moving around or barking. No real explosions. Good girl!

For this class, most of the arena was closed off so the waiting dogs had a small area to hang out in while one dog and handler team worked off-leash in the big area. The handler walked around ignoring the dog (well at least I was pretending to ignore Iris, but I was pretty aware of where she was anyway) and looking down at the spot where the dog would be if the dog was in proper heel position. It was sort of an extension of the "finding eye contact" exercise that we learned in ABC class. Basically, the handler would wait until the dog ended up in heel position and then reward.

This is Iris' exercise - I need to practice this with her. Like I said last week, I need to remember to reward Iris whenever she checks in and that's exactly what this exercise is. Definitely something that both of us need to practice! Iris did great when it was her turn. I walked around ignoring her until she chose to come over and interact with me. She wasn't quite sure what I was doing or what I wanted, but she was aware of where I was. Even when the other dogs started barking, Iris still kept playing the game with me. A couple of times when I caught her starting to focus in on the other dogs, I switched direction and she was pretty good about following. No rushing the other dogs and no barking. She was just an all around good little dog, and it forced me to reward her every time she checked in! A good class for both of us.

At the end of class, we started practicing "tuck sits," which is when the dog keeps front feet stationary and moves back feet forward to sit. Iris does this pretty naturally, so I think as long as make it point to only reward tuck sits from now on, she won't have any problem with this.

We'll definitely be practing a lot this week and I'm hoping to "take the show on the road" a bit and get her to a couple different fenced in places for practice.

Iris says being good is exhausting. After class, she fell sound asleep in my lap. I can walk her for miles, but a 1 hr class does a much better job of wearing her out!


Katrin said...

Mental activity trumps physical for exhausting effects any day of the week.

GREAT job in class!!!!!!!!

Jules said...

Yay Iris! Ike agrees - mental exwercise is EXHAUSTING!