Sunday, July 20, 2008

5 Directions #4 and C.H. #6

In 5 Directions class on Thurs, we worked on switch and tight over jump bars on the ground. Iris and I got there first, and she was being great about giving me attention and working while we waited for the rest of the class. The two other dogs showed up and came into Iris' barn (she owns whatever space she can see) and they started barking (Iris is actually the only dog in the world, except Henry, allowed to bark), and I completely lost her focus. I took her for a walk outside to see if I could get her to "start over." Sometimes life needs save points and reset buttons.

Iris relaxed a bit and we went back in. We worked on switch first. The goal was to have the dog go over one jump bar and switch to go over the other jump bar. I think Iris is starting to understand that turning is important, but she hasn't quite made the connection that doing an obstacle is part of it too. When I was practicing with her earlier in the week, she was trying to turn before getting to the cone. Once Iris thinks she knows what I want, she usually tries to find a shorter way of doing it. If she turns before the cone, it's less work than walking all the way around the cone!

After switch, we worked on tight over one jump bar. I need to remember that tight actually means really tight. Iris was doing better with tight than switch, which is probably partially because I have a better understanding of tight. By this point in class, Iris had stopped worrying about the other dogs and was doing a much better job focusing. She went from wanna-be-reactive-dog at the beginning of class to happy-working-dog at the end of class. I think that's the first time I've actually gotten her paying attention and happy after she'd gone into reactive mode to the beginning of class.

Today was our last Competition Heeling class. This was a great class! Iris still has a ways to go before she's doing perfect heeling, but I think it's helped a lot with getting her to focus on me when I'm moving. That was really what I wanted Iris to get out of the class and I think we're off to the right start. Today was really hot and Iris was really spacey. She was looking for an excuse to explode at the beginning of class, and I was more concerned with just keeping her attention than with teaching her anything new. We worked on pace changes and then put everything together at the end. Iris' head was in the clouds somewhere. She really doesn't like the heat and get more snarky when she's hot.

Later in the afternoon, I took Iris over to the abandoned airport field to practice heeling a little more. It cooled off a bit after the rain and was mostly overcast so I thought she'd have an easier time focusing. It was still hotter than I thought, so we kept it pretty brief and I took Iris to the pond across the street when we were done. Iris thought the pond was great fun! I had her on a long line, so she really got to romp around. Now I have one very sleepy Aussie.


Jules said...

Blue, we need to lobby for C.H. # 2!! I really had a great time with it - as did Ike.

Blue said...

I'd sign up for C.H. #2! I really enjoyed the class. And I think it's so cool you've found something that Ike really likes!