Steeler ROCKS! He was such a good boy today! And I only had a minor little panic attack over stays. :-) Run thru's started at 10 AM and Steeler was in the second and third sets of 8. We got there about 9:30. A bunch of people that we train with were there already and had saved us crate space. We were set up in front of the novice ring - so there were lots of dogs going past up to get to the open ring and the utility ring. Steeler was quiet in his crate even with the crate cover up and just watched the world go by. No whining at all until we were just about ready to leave, at which point he had been hanging out in the building for over 4 hours - even with breaks outside that is a long time in a busy noisy building for my spotted boy.
His first run was pretty good considering that we haven't been to class in over 3 months and have only been doing a bit of training here and there. I thought his heeling felt a little bit laggy - but people watching said no it wasn't that bad. I've been working him on a long line so that he doesn't get the chance to make the mistake of just wandering away from me, and today I only had to step on it once when we were approaching a couple of stacked crates with a HUGE stuffed dog on top. His figure 8 was pretty good too - just a little bit laggy on the outside turn. Stand for exam just a little bit of foot movement .... and his recall was AWESOME!!!!
The first set of stays I found a little bit nerve wracking. There were 8 of us along the short wall - there was definitely about 4 ft between dogs - but for baby dogs it was a bit crowded. I was a bit too nervous to drop the leash for the 1 minute sit, though I did let go of it about 40 seconds in. I stayed close but stayed silent and calm I think. I had trouble getting Steeler to drop into his down for the long down - so I did lure him into it. But once he was down - he stayed down for the 3 minutes. He did pop up as I started to walk around him - but I think that was just a timing thing with all the other people approaching - I decided to not fuss with it.
His second run thru was at least as good as or better than the first one. His Stand for Exam was definitely better, only one tiny foot movement. His recall was spot on again and his heeling felt a bit better. And even better his Stays were good! This time we set up against the longer wall so there was a little bit more space between the dogs. I set Steeler up between Riley (who he has known thru class for almost 3 years) and Ellie who he hasn't seen in a while but wasn't a complete stranger to him. This time I was able to get almost all the way across the ring from him on the sit stay - even with a dog barking in the crate that was directly behind him on the other side of the ring gate! On the long down I did have to lure him down with a cookie - but he stayed down and I was able to get all the way across the ring. We still had the barking dog and lots of activity going on behind him so I did a bit of walking in towards him when I thought he was getting too distracted. And he was able to stay in the down as everyone was walking back to their dogs. He really did a great job today! GO STEELER!