So tonight Steeler and I took a trip up to Franklin to drop in on Katrin's agility class. I always pick up something from any class I have taken with her. Tonight - well we know that Steeler knows how to "push my buttons" - our opening sequence was a series of jumps (4 jumps in a straight line but turning after jump #3) Steeler veered into me just a little bit after jump #2 and what did I do - I yielded space to him. And this after playing the space game with him quite a bit. Maybe not so much in the last month or so - but still it is something we play at least once a week. Sometimes I think I focus on the technical aspects of agility - and I need to learn to focus more on what Steeler and I are actually doing. Steeler is such a responsive dog - it only took a couple repeats of doing the opening sequence for him to realize that he had to jump all three jumps and I didn't have to keep repeating jump each time. Of course that also means that every time I drop my arm he comes into me!
The course was also set up to work on changes in lead (I think that is the right term - any horse people?) Katrin calls it "switch" and I use "Flip" as my cue. Steeler actually handled this very nicely once I figured out where I was supposed to be. Actually - I was really impressed since it is something that we work on occassionally and we started the basics in Katrin's Communication class last summer. Honestly I don't know that I have done much with it since then. But Steeler seemed to understand what I wanted when I said it! We had a little bit of trouble with the dog walk - but only in one direction which I thought was a bit odd.
What was also nice is that he didn't have any barking hissy fits with the dogs that he had never seen before. He wasn't real quiet in his crate - but he wasn't at his worst either. And he played tug with me after running - which for us is a key indication of how in sync we are! And I got to catch up with Katrin a bit. All things considered - it was worth the 2 hours of driving. :-)