Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stress! and a GREAT Tuesday Agility Class

So - I haven't posted in a while because I have been kind of cranky and whishy washy feeling about training, and work has been insanely busy, and just generally I think the pressure of everything has been getting to me. I am thinking that I might take a break from obedience class for a while. The stress of getting to class on time is just one added thing that I am having trouble with. I know I might not be able to get back into that class again - the competition classes where I go are full and someone pretty much has to die for there to be an opening in the next level class - and I don't want that to happen.

On the plus side - Steeler had a GREAT agility class tonight. We have a new dog in class - a Springer Spaniel who seems very out going. Steeler barked at him as we were coming up the path to the agilty field - so when we did our first run I asked for them to wait on the other side of the fence while we ran. And actually - Steeler was just a little bit distracted - but didn't leave me to go check them out. Catie had set up a novice course since a couple of people are competing this weekend for the first time and Steeler did GREAT. We've started putting him in his crate if he drifts off to be sniffy to break the pattern of leaving me for something he deems more interesting. No harsh words or handling - just a "oh you need a break" and into the crate for 10 seconds. What a difference that has made in just a couple classes. I really need to work on following through at home too. We ran the course 3 times tonight, and the second and third time Elliot (the new dog) was in the ring for the 2nd and 3rd run. On the 2nd run Steeler looked at him once and moved in his direction but was quickly back on course with me when I called him. And when I say "moved in his direction" - well Steeler probably only took maybe 3 steps in that general direction. Probably only because I started to get a litte anxious in that area because Steeler was coming down off the Aframe and then later thru the shute with a direct line of sight to Elliot. But my little boy NAILED his contacts (all of them) and his weave poles. Oh and he was able to run with me when there were a couple of people in the next class watching us who he really really wanted to say hello to. :-) I did let him say hello after - but at that point he was more interested in what I might have for him.

In the last month or so we have done a few other things as well. Steeler and I went to another APDT Rally match and Catie had run thru's at her house at the end of September. I am glad I went - even though it was raining! It wasn't too crowded and the people were all really nice - I played judge for someone and people played ring crew and in general were really helpful. Steeler was a bit distracted and had trouble running with all of those people and dogs watching. So I went back to starting with a restrained recall across the ring and working in the far corner. On the plus side - he was willing to play tug with me down there and we worked a series of jumps to the dog walk - with the dog walk coming back towards all the activity - and he nailed his contacts! On his last run - I did the same thing but instead of spending most of my time down there in the far corner - I played tug for 15 seconds - then did the jumps to the dog walk. Dog walk to table - then ran the entire novice course from the table. :-)


  1. Yay, Steeler (and mum)! Tuesday night sounds like a HUGE breakthrough/success. Also sounds worthwhile to drop obedience although I understand not wanting to lose your place in the class.

    Ironically my word verification was "quits"

  2. OK that is pretty funny about the the word verification being "quits"!!!! I think I need to go back to some basic foundation stuff for a while - all we've been doing in class lately is heeling - and stays - which is fine ... but I can drop the class and go to run thru's on Sunday nights. I also signed up for Emma's Shaping class on Thursdays that she is going to do a 3 week trial run of in Nov. I think Steeler and I are getting there ... Catie thinks I am "overthinking" things like the fact that he barked at the new dog when we were coming up the steps. And maybe I am ... but the more I think about it - the more I think a bit of a break is needed.

  3. Sounds like great progress Jenn! Congrats on the great class...I'm thinking we should probably get back in an obedience class here, but well, it's just not as much *fun* IMO. :)

  4. Sounds like a fun agility class, Jenn! Great exercise in crating Steeler when he's distracted. He needs to know that all the fun happens when he's paying attention.

    While you're thinking of getting out of obedience class, I'm thinking that Jazz and I need to get back in!! She seems to be losing some of the confidence she gained in those classes, so we're starting back again next week.

    How do you like APDT Rally? I've been thinking of giving it a try with Jazz, but there is very little in our area. I'd have to travel about an hour or so for any trials, but we do that for agility anyway!

    Keep up the good work with Steeler!

  5. Hi Lisa! I probably won't get out of obedience entirely. There are run thru's that I can go to and show n go's so we will still do those things. I'll probably try to pick it back up in a couple of months. I have been very lazy on follow thru at home when training. If he gets distracted I often just go inside. UGH! Probably not what I should have been doing at all.

    I think I am going to love APDT rally. I've only done a few matches so far - but the signs are more fun and the best part is that you can bring food in the ring with you and treat after stationary exercises! I have to drive a bit for it here too - but I think it is going to be worth it. I am hoping to get into a trial in December and maybe get a couple of legs towards his RL1 title. :-)