The last week has been a pleasant although busy one. Monday night obedience class continues to go well. Though I think I do need to go back and refresh some of the basics that we haven't worked on recently. This week we worked on retrieving. Steeler is doing great with that - with the minor exception of letting go of the dumbbell when I put my hands on it. It was a pretty common problem in class and we talked about two different ways to work on that. The first way seemed to me to be shaping the dog to want to hold onto it. The other way used doggy zen to maintain the hold. I will likely play with both methods this weekend and see how we do. Meanwhile - Steeler's stays are coming along nicely and I think I might be ready to take the leash off pretty soon.
Agility class on Tuesday - Oh boy! It is so nice to be in a class where everyone seems to care how you are doing! Everyone in the class is competing except for Steeler I think - oh and Solo. OK - so half of the class is competing.
On another note - Steeler did have a few things to say when Solo came into the agility ring, but when Steeler set up in front of the first jump and Solo was 4 or 5 feet behind him on the other side of the gate - Steeler didn't seem to care much. He did glance at Solo once, but I just reminded him to sit and walked away. And Steeler held his sit and waited for me to release him! He also got a bit distracted the first time through and left me, not sure if that was a minor stress issue - because we were working on something hard for him. I had a moment of slight panic because he decided to play with the BC girl in our class. Luckily she is a sweet girl that doesn't give off any hard vibes. And after my moment of panic I did manage to call Steeler back to me in an almost normal tone of voice - and he came running back! On our second turn he started to leave again to go play - and this time I had my brain back and just called him before he got very close and he came right back. :-) YAY!
Thursday night is Communications class with Katrin. I am really enjoying this class. We worked on the eye targeting game some more. Steeler had some trouble getting started, he was a bit distracted by a couple of the dogs. We worked with peanut butter for a bit, and then switched to a can of Evangers all meat canned food. All of a sudden Steeler was REALLY into this game. Amazing what you can do with a novel treat. And he seems to be getting the idea that he needs to find my eyes. I will try to video this weekend. We also introduced the space game this week. Steeler LOVES this ... of course any thing that involves motion is good with him. This game is to teach the dogs to move into our space when invited, and out of our space when we step into theirs. I'll have to video that too. It's all about pressure. Creating pressure when you step into them, and easing pressure when you invite them into your space. I talked to Katrin a bit about Steeler's reaction to Solo (and he has a similar, less intense reaction to the golden in class) and I am going to try to be proactive next Tuesday (and Thursday). Before Steeler can notice Solo I am going to start playing the space game with him. And if he does react to Solo, I am going to just back up and reward him for coming into my space. We have lots of homework this week. Continuing with the eye contact game, the space game - moving forward and back and side to side, as well as working on backing up in a straight line. hmmmm I guess I will be doing more training and less relaxing than I thought this weekend. Oh wait - dog training is a form of relaxation! :-)