Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Control Unleashed - Week Four

I'm getting behind on writing about Iris' CU class, so now I'm trying to play catch up a bit. Week four was on 3/17. Iris had a GREAT class on week four.

Agility Sequence with Distraction
Here is the sequence Emma had us work on. All of the jumps were at 4 inches and dogs stayed on-leash.

One dog worked on the sequence on the right. At the same time, a second dog went back and forth over the two jumps on the left as a distraction.

Iris did well. She was concerned by the other jumping dog but not overly concerned. She was able to work through it. The fourth obstacle was a pvc ladder, something Iris had never seen before. No problem! Going over the ladder meant walking straight toward Bowser (Aussie), so she was a little worried about that.

One thing Iris has a lot of trouble with was the tunnel. One of the dogs who wasn't working was sitting fairly close to the entrance of the tunnel (the room we're in is small). Emma asked the other dog to move and as soon as she did, Iris had no problem doing the tunnel. I think Iris is more sensitive to things she can see than to sounds (although sounds can be an issue too). If Iris is doing any obstacle other than the tunnel, she can keep an eye on the other dogs. When she's in the tunnel, she has no idea where the other dogs are. I've noticed that sometimes Iris has trouble orienting to sounds, so maybe that why she's so visually focused?

There's A Dog in Your Face
Emma set up a ring gate at the end of two jumps. One dog sat on one side of the ring gate and a second dog went over the two jumps moving in a straight line toward the sitting dog. Iris did much better at this than I expected! When I'm out walking her, she has A LOT of trouble with dogs walking straight towards us. I think having the ring gate as a barrier helped her a lot. Also, she was paired with Bryce (BC), who is one of the dogs that Iris is least reactive to in class. And unlike the dogs we usually encounter when we're out walking, Bryce has very nice leash manners. She wasn't straining on the leash towards Iris.

I was able to have Iris sitting fairly close to the ring gate, but I did keep her facing perpendicular to the ring gate. Bryce walked toward Iris' side, not head on. When Iris was the moving dog, she didn't seem to have any problems.

Scramble Heeling
This game isn't in the CU book. It's something Emma learned when she started doing Competition Obedience with her dogs. Emma had two dogs heel around the room (it didn't have to be perfect competition heeling, Emma told us to use whatever criteria we wanted as long as the dog was on a loose leash). Also, we were supposed to walk in a random pattern around the room. Periodically, Emma would give us instructions to change what we were doing: walk faster, walk slowly, change direction, sit, down, stay, and recall from a stay.

I really like this as a CU game. While walking around, not only do you have to pay attention to where you are and what your dog is doing but also to where the other dog is walking. We've been doing a lot of agility in class because we have a class full of agility dogs. I think it was good for the dogs to work on something a little different. Plus dogs walking around on leash is something you encounter no matter what sport you're doing with your dog. Right now, we only worked on two dogs moving around the room. Ultimately the goal would be to have all of the dogs in class moving around at once.

Iris did really well with scramble heeling. The Golden was the other dog heeling with Iris, and usually he's challenging for her (he's big and bouncy!) But she did great.

More Agility
We had a little bit of time at the end of class, so Emma had all of the dogs run the agility sequence with no distractions. She wanted to give all the dogs a chance to loosen up bit and it gave the rest of the class a chance to practice relaxing while one dog was running. Iris again had trouble going into the tunnel with another dog nearby. This time, Emma wanted us to work through it. She had me ask Iris to hand target near the tunnel entrance. Each time I asked Iris to target, I moved my hand a little further into the tunnel. After asking her to target inside the tunnel entrance a few times, I tried sending her into the tunnel again. Success! My little red dog was able to work through it! It was also a great example of how breaking something down into really small steps will help Iris succeed if she's stressing out.

No comments: